STAR PREVIEW: Georgia v Republic Of Ireland

The Irish Coach Mike McCarthy during the International Friendly match between Republic of Ireland and Bulgaria at Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland on September 10, 2019 (Andrew Surma/ Sipa USA).

Ireland still have plenty of tough tests to overcome, but they are currently in a strong position for Euro 2020 qualifying ahead of their extremely tricky trip to Georgia today.

As we enter the business end of the campaign, Ireland currently top Group D – Mick McCarthy’s men have 11 points from their five games played. Denmark are two points behind Ireland in second place while fellow qualification hopefuls Switzerland sit on eight points with a game in hand on both the Danes and Irish, meaning that Switzerland are essentially level with Ireland if one assumes they will beat Gibraltar twice.

These two sides (Ireland and Georgia) have seen plenty of each other, with this being their sixth meeting since 2013 (see head-to-heads) and these meetings have followed a theme of being tight, cagey contests. That was the case when the pair met in March when Conor Hourihane’s superb first-half free-kick was the difference between the sides, and we know a lot about how each team will approach the game.

Mick McCarthy’s men fought hard to earn draws against Denmark (away) and Switzerland (home) and we can expect another strong defensive display. It’s worth noting that thanks to a very strong performance in their UEFA Nations League group, Georgia are guaranteed a shot at a playoff to make Euro 2020, and given that they’re out of the reckoning for the top two, Ireland might have a motivational advantage here.

Georgia conceded a total of 26 shots to Denmark and Ireland in the reverse fixture but were breached just once in those two games. Indeed, since their June 2013 meeting in a friendly, there have never been more than three goals in a fixture between these two sides and Under 2.5 goals is as short as 2/5, a sign of what onlookers expect.

Georgia v Republic of Ireland
UEFA EURO 2020 Qualifier
14:00 Sky Sports Football / Sky Sports Main Event

(Maximum 10 matches)
MAR 2019 EURO 2020 QUALIFYING Ireland 1-0 Georgia
SEP 2017 WORLD CUP 2018 QUALIFYING Georgia 1-1 Ireland
OCT 2016 WORLD CUP 2018 QUALIFYING Ireland 1-0 Georgia
SEP 2015 EURO 2016 QUALIFYING Ireland 1-0 Georgia
SEP 2014 EURO 2016 QUALIFYING Georgia 1-2 Ireland
FEB 2008 WORLD CUP 2010 QUALIFYING Ireland 2-1 Georgia
SEP 2008 WORLD CUP 2010 QUALIFYING Georgia 1-2 Ireland

The best bet in what’s sure to be a cagey game might well be the draw. Ireland have had the upper hand but there’s been plenty of draws between the two sides in this qualifying campaign. As said earlier, Ireland have already drawn against Switzerland and Denmark and Georgia have drawn against Denmark as well, and dutching a low scoring stalemate might be the value option.

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