Rep of Ireland can enjoy Swiss delight in home friendly meeting
Lee Gormley | March 24, 2016
Republic of Ireland v Switzerland
- International friendly
- Friday, March 25th
- Kick-off: 19:45 GMT
- The Aviva Stadium, Dublin
- Live on Premier Sports
Irish face Swiss in Euro 2016 warm-up
Following a successful Euro 2016 qualifying campaign, Martin O’Neill’s Republic of Ireland get their preparations for the France finals underway in a friendly clash with Switzerland at the Aviva Stadium, a nation the Irish have not toppled since March 1992.
The Swiss are bound for the summer’s showcase tournament too, having been drawn in Group A alongside the hosts after qualifying second behind Roy Hodgson’s England, and they will boosted by the fact they are unbeaten in four previous fixture match-ups, winning twice.
Ireland had to come through the play-offs to reach France, while Switzerland earned a second automatic spot in their standings, and the hosts are 15/8 with Coral to triumph in Dublin on a weekend which the nation will enjoy 1916 centenary celebrations.
Although, Vladimir Petkovic’s talented Swiss set-up will look to spoil the party and are 17/10 to prevail on their maiden visit to the Aviva, having previously lost six of nine meetings on Irish soil since 1935.
Hendrick, Keane, Walters blow for O’Neill
After such a gallant qualifying campaign, the Boys in Green are aiming to gain some momentum as a squad ahead of the main event in June, with the Swiss clash a great opportunity to prepare for what looks like a tough Group E, featuring Belgium, Italy and Sweden.
Key midfielder Jeff Hendrick will be an absentee for O’Neill, as he returned to Derby County for treatment on a troublesome shoulder injury, while recently crowned FAI Senior International Player of the Year Jonathan Walters could miss out too with a hamstring problem. Though he is 11/2 to net last if fit.
Skipper Robbie Keane sat out of training ahead of this home encounter and O’Neill confirmed the country’s all-time scorer will not be fit to feature, but may make the following Slovakia meeting.
O’Neill focused on Euro preparations
Having so far impressed in the Ireland hotseat, alongside assistant Roy Keane, O’Neill’s future has come under speculation, but the Derry-born boss was quick to avoid any such contract talk, instead focusing on preparations.
“Loads of things can happen between now and then and there’s no point in turning around and telling you that there’s an absolute degree of certainty about anything,” stated the 64-year-old.
“What we want to do is not only try to enjoy the Euros if it’s at all possible, but also try to make some sort of progress there as well, so we will see how things go. But who knows?”
Southampton striker Shane Long could be set to lead the line from the start and is 11/2 to open proceedings, having been awarded FAI International Goal of the Year for his memorable match-winning strike against world champions Germany, while Daryl Murphy is 6/4 to dispatch.
Swiss possess attacking threats
The visiting side were impressive in qualifying for Euro 2016, finishing seven points clear of Slovenia and winning seven of their 10 Group E outings, and they possess plenty of attacking threat to the Irish rearguard.
Xherdan Shaqiri is the obvious forward danger, with the Stoke City wideman 15/8 to strike anytime, but the likes of John O’Shea, Richard Keogh and Seamus Coleman will also need to be alert for Eintracht Frankfurt striker Haris Seferovic (7/4 anytime) and teenage Basel talent Breel-Donald Embolo (15/8).
A share of the spoils is 2/1 to occur in Dublin, as the last two meetings having ended 0-0 and 1-1 respectively, with cult hero Clinton Morrison the last Ireland international to score in this fixture during that latter result in 2004.
Both the Irish and Switzerland will look to put on a strong showing and gain form and momentum in Dublin during this international break ahead of busy summer, when the two nations will hold high hopes of enjoying further success following encouraging respective qualifying outings.