Ireland still in the hunt for automatic World Cup Qualification

6th September 2009 | World Cup Betting category: World Cup Betting & Odds, World Cup Qualification Previews & Predictions
World Cup Betting & Odds

The familiar figure of the Republic of Ireland’s Robbie Keane popped up to secure a vital late winner in Cyprus. The win gives Giovanni Trapattoni’s side a bit of a cushion in second place in Group 8, and they remain just one point behind World Champions Italy who have a game in hand over the Irish. The two sides still have meet again, so every point in between then will be crucial. Ireland take a break on Wednesday, as Italy take on third placed Bulgaria at home. This will take care of the game in hand that Italy have, and Ireland will be watching Keane-ly in the hope that Bulgaria can pull of a victory, or at least a draw.

Bulgaria held the Italians to a 0-0 draw in an earlier group fixture in Sofia, but while a win for Bulgaria would give the Irish a glimmer of hope of topping the group, it will put the Bulgarians just two points behind them. A draw would probably be the ideal result for Ireland, as they wait to see what Fate has in store for them.

Two second half goals saw Italy past Georgia away from home in Saturday’s fixture, but the goals came in strange circumstances. Making his return to international duty, AC Milan defender Kakha Kaladze netted two own goals to bury his own team, in what would be a match to forget for him. Meanwhile Ireland was putting in an industriously classic away performance against the Cypriots. The Irish looked content to absorb pressure and hit the home team on the break.

The visitors opened the scoring, but were pegged back at half time. Not gaining much ground in midfield, the Irish had only quick breaks to pose a threat, but they still looked the more efficient and competent side. This tactic paid dividends as Damien Duff broke free late in the game to cross for Robbie Keane to net home. The win was vital with both Italy and Bulgaria winning their group games. Bulgaria cruised to a 4-1 victory over Montenegro and Trapattoni will now patiently wait to see what the outcome of Italy v Bulgaria will be.

Italy to win4/11 at 888Sport
Draw7/2 at SkyBet
Bulgaria win9/1 at Bet365

Betting Tip: Not only will the Irish be banking on a draw between their two opponents, but it is not a bad bet to take either. Bulgaria and Italy drew 0-0, they have both only scored 10 and 11 goals respectively in their campaigns. Bulgaria have also drawn five of their seven matches so far. If ever a draw was on the cards, it will be here and that will suit everyone involved just fine.



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