Kick-off: 1945, 08/10/2020
Stadium: Tehelne Pole
TV: Sky Sports
Slovakia and Republic of Ireland have a history of tight tussles and Thursday’s Euro 2020 qualifying play-off promises to be another close encounter.
These evenly-matched teams have played out four consecutive draws since the men in green shaded their first meeting 1-0 back in 2007.
With so much at stake on this occasion, 19/10 for a stalemate at the end of regular time in Bratislava is our initial Slovakia vs Republic of Ireland prediction.
A Look At Slovakia’s Betting Odds
Slovakia finished a fair third in Group E, four points adrift of Croatia and just one behind Wales.
The Falcons only took one point off the top two, but did perform with credit versus Wales, drawing 1-1 at home and losing 1-0 away.
Pavel Hapal’s side kicked off their current Nations League campaign with a 3-1 defeat against the Czech Republic at this venue.
However, a 1-1 stalemate in Israel three days later again showed they are a tough nut to crack in company with similar capabilities.
Key man Stanislav Lobotka has to negotiate coronavirus protocols after Napoli’s Serie A clash with Juventus was called off.
Juraj Kucka of Parma and returning skipper Marek Hamsik will ensure the midfield remains strong, though.
Young forward Robert Bozenik is another player to watch out for, having been linked with a move to Brentford before joining Feyenoord.
Losing striker Michal Duris to concussion is a blow, though, and Newcastle keeper Martin Dubravka was already ruled out.
The hosts have only beaten Azerbaijan from their last five home games, so may take a cagey approach to this contest.
That makes 29/10 for the scores to be level at half-time and full-time appeal from the Slovakia vs Republic of Ireland odds.
A Look At Republic of Ireland’s Betting Odds
Ireland are back in another play-off after finishing third behind Switzerland and Denmark in Group D, drawing half of their eight games in that pool and losing only once.
No country has appeared in as many such fixtures as the men in green, who beat Bosnia and Herzegovina over two legs to reach Euro 2016 and brushed aside Estonia eight years ago.
Denmark did stop them from making the 2018 World Cup in Russia after following up a goalless draw in Copenhagen with a 5-1 Dublin romp, though.
West Brom striker Callum Robinson commented: “These are the games you dream of as a kid, to help the country to get to the Euros.
“There are a lot of young lads in the squad now – we want to make history, we want to do well, we want to get to the Euros.
“I believe we can. It’s going to be tough, but you’re never going to get to a Euros an easy way.”
One concern is that Ireland have not won a major competitive match away from home for almost three years – a 1-0 victory over minnows Gibraltar in 2019 aside.
New coach Stephen Kenny said: “We can’t hide from that fact, and there must be a reason. It is significant we haven’t won many away games against significant nations in many years.
“But it’s not a concern for me, there’s nothing we can do about that. We can only approach the game itself on its merits.”
Losing skipper Seamus Coleman to injury is a blow but we’re adding 21/4 for a 1-1 draw to our Slovakia vs Republic of Ireland betting tips.
In terms of who will advance to the next round and face Northern Ireland or Bosnia and Herzegovina, it is 3/4 for the hosts to progress and 19/20 the visitors go through.
Israel 1-1 SLOVAKIA – Michal Duris
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND 0-1 Finland
Head-to-head: Ireland 2-2 Slovakia, Ireland 0-0 Slovakia, Slovakia 1-1 Ireland, Slovakia 2-2 Ireland, Ireland 1-0 Slovakia
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