Rep of Ireland vs Bosnia - Herzegovina
|Date & Time||Friday November 13, 2015, 2:45 PM (EST)|
The Line: Bosnia 19/20 Draw 12/5 Republic of Ireland 7/2
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The playoffs for Euro 2016 will see the Republic of Ireland travel to Bosnia with both teams eager to get a win that would put them in the driving seat for the return leg in Dublin. Bosnia-Herzegovina finished their qualification group strongly with four wins in their last three games. Led by Eden Dzeko the Roma striker who is on loan from Manchester City ,this is a team that has plenty of attacking talent. Pjanic who also plays his football in Roma will be the key creative influence in Bosnia's midfield and it will be interesting to see how Martin O'Neill's Ireland deal with his threat. Ibisevic and Lulic will also provide a threat in the last third but I think the biggest threat to Ireland is going to be Dzeko who has a terrific goalscoring record with his country. Dzeko has seven goals in his last nine games for his country and will be looking to step up to the mark on the biggest stage for Bosnia.
Martin O'Neill will probably go with Daryl Murphy up front as Robbie Keane is getting on and Shane Long has not returned to full fitness. Murphy finally broke his duck in the Championship last weekend with a well taken hattrick for Ipswich which couldnt have come at a better time for the striker's confidence. Ireland have some quality players but the key for the Irish will be James McCarthy in midfield, the Everton midfielder is the engine room of this Irish side and when he is on his game like the Germany fixture he is brilliant and hard to counteract. With McCarthy's ball winning ability Hoolohan or Brady will need to provide the creativity beside him. Ireland can get a result here but it is going to be difficult.
While this is a tough game to call I think that Ireland can definitely get something from this game if they defend as well here as they did against Germany in Dublin. While Bosnia have some excellent players and deserve favouritism here I think this Irish side have shown that they have a belief and mental strenght about them. This is going to be a tough game but I am going to go with the draw as I think this one hangs in the balance for the return leg