Rivals can do each other a favour
Ireland and Wales target Sunday wins
Group D rivals Republic of Ireland and Wales can do each other a huge favour on Sunday by winning. The race for qualification is finely balanced going into round six, where Ireland host Austria and Wales go to leaders Serbia.
Victory for ROI would give Wales a leg-up, Austria level with Chris Coleman’s side, while three points for Wales would strengthen their chances of going to Russia, while sending Ireland top of the table. Let’s check on how the betting shapes up in both matches.
Ireland looking to remain unbeaten
The Green Army sit level on points with Serbia, trailing the leaders by just two goals. A record of three wins and two draws has them in a great position to qualify for the World Cup proper, but they would’ve been kicking themselves having failed to beat the 10-men of Wales last time, ending goalless.
Ireland snuck a 1-0 over Austria in the reverse of this fixture last year, but are fancied by the Coral trading team to better that on Sunday. Austria do boast the best of the head-to-head stats, leading 8-4 with three draws, but they’ve manage just one win in their last four Group D matches, with the spare coming against basement boys Moldova.
ROI have picked up 10 points from the last 12 available to them, and the right set of results this weekend would see them take a firm grip of the pool. The home win is expected, but Coral’s price looks to be on the generous side, with 13/10 currently available.
Wales to draw again
Wales have been nothing if not consistent in their five previous matches at this level, beating whipping boys Moldova, before going on to draw each of their next four, ending level with Austria, Georgia, Serbia and, most recently, Ireland.
They have scored in all but one of those outings, the spare coming last time in a goalless finish that The Dragons were lucky to get away with. Neil Taylor was sent off for Wales on 69 minutes, flashed a straight red card for a shocking tackle on Seamus Coleman, one that resulted in a broken leg for the Irishman.
The chances of Chris Coleman’s side are now hanging by a thread, four points off the pace of Serbia and Ireland, level on points with Austria in fourth. Lose here and it’ll be over. That’s all the team talk Coleman needs in the dressing room, and followers of the stats will fancy a punt on them getting another share of the spoils at 5/2.