Republic of Ireland captain Robbie Keane fired a warning to his team-mates ahead of his side’s Euro 2012 play-off second leg against Estonia at the Dublin Arena this evening, telling them “the job is not done yet” in the pre-match press conference.
But for all Keane’s caution, it is hard to imagine a situation where Estonia were able to overturn a 4-0 first leg deficit and make it through to Euro 2012.
Indeed, odds on the eastern Europeans to take the game into extra time with a 4-0 win in 90 minutes are priced at 250/1, illustrating the size of the task facing Tarmo Ruutli’s men.
However, while Keane is perhaps overemphasising the size of the threat when he says the job is not yet done, he is perhaps right to issue a call for focus ahead of the game.
After all, Estonia are unlikely to perform as badly as they did in the first leg, meaning a win for the Republic this evening – if not the final result over two legs – is far from assured.
An early goal from Keith Andrews settled Irish nerves in Tallinn, although the sending off of Andrei Stepanov on 35 minutes proved equally crucial as the Republic were able to turn their numerical superiority into goals late on in the match.
Indeed, Estonia had chances to equalise before Stepanov’s second yellow card for a foul on Keane, and it was only on his departure that the game turned into a damage limitation exercise.
As such, don’t expect Ireland to win by such a big margin in Dublin.
Of course, it is not a given that Giovanni Trapattoni’s men will win at all, although what is perhaps more certain is that the men in green are likely to keep things tight at the back.
The Republic have kept nine clean sheets in their last ten matches and Trapattoni is not the type to shift to a more attacking style of play however comfortable they first-leg cushion.
This helps to explain odds of 67/100 on Estonia failing to score.
Another factor which points to Ireland keeping a clean sheet is Estonia’s poor record in front of goal away from home in recent times.
Save for 2-1 wins over Northern Ireland and Slovenia earlier this year, Estonia have lost their last five away matches without hitting the back of the net.
But as they are unlikely to be as ill-disciplined as they were in Talinn, don’t expect the Republic to put four last them, and instead go for a 1-0, 2-0 or 3-0 multiple correct scoreline in favour of the home side at odds of 6/5.
A successful £25 free bet on the Republic of Ireland to beat Estonia 1-0, 2-0 or 3-0 would return £55, with the free bet available to new customers who sign up for a bwin account.
And with Keane in such a determined mood, don’t bet against him to repeat his feat of scoring two in Tallinn with another brace at the Dublin Arena at odds of 5/1.
Finally, those looking for a safer option could back Ireland to win at 17/50 in bwin’s 3Way football betting market.
A draw is priced at 7/2, while Estonian revenge can be found at 35/4.
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