Republic of Ireland v Austria
Sunday June 11, 17:00
Live on Sky Sports

Match Odds

Republic of Ireland 2.38 Austria 3.65 Draw 3.25

When the draw for the World Cup qualifiers was made in the summer of 2015, Austria were second seeds and Ireland were drawn from pot four.

At that point in time, it looked a fair reflection of the standing of Martin O'Neill's side. The Austrians, by contrast, were on an upward curve that was moving them towards the top pot as they stormed through qualifying for Euro 2016 and were tipped in some quarters as an outside bet to challenge.

The picture has changed in the intervening period. Ireland made a late charge to qualify for France and exceeded expectations. Austria bombed and the hangover carried over into the start of the qualification race to Russia. They come to Dublin on Sunday four points behind Ireland - and Serbia - in Group D. It was tipped to be one of the tightest groups but home wins for Ireland and Serbia (who play Wales) on Sunday would make it a two horse race.

Ireland are favourites to take the three points and that position is understandable, even though they are without their captain Seamus Coleman as well as three others who would expect to start when fit - Shane Long, Ciaran Clark and James McCarthy.

However, Austria are in worse nick with Marko Arnautovic and Stefan Ilsanker banned, Marc Janko and Allesandro Schoepf injured, and three goalkeepers out of the picture. Ramazan Özcan, the chosen netminder for last November's surprise loss to Ireland in Vienna, has since opted to concentrate on club football. Andreas Ulner, a possible option for left full, decided to plough ahead with his wedding instead of answering a call from his angry manager Marcel Koller.

Their lack of options in that position has inspired a switch to a 3-4-3 or 3-5-2. In David Alaba, they have one of the top left sided defenders in Europe but he prefers to operate in midfield for his country.

In short, they're not in great shape with the under pressure Koller opting to prepare for this game with a training camp instead of a friendly match. O'Neill brought a second string squad for a defeat to Mexico in America before welcoming the bulk of his top-flight players into the frame for an impressive confidence-boosting 3-1 win over Uruguay last Sunday. Harry Arter impressed in midfield and is in line for a second competitive Irish appearance following a good start in Vienna.

O'Neill has options in that department and may opt to hold the creative Wes Hoolahan in reserve. That would be an unpopular move in Ireland, but his midfield equation also includes Robbie Brady, Jeff Hendrick, Glenn Whelan and the talismanic wide man James McClean with Jon Walters likely to be given a centre forward role. To read too much into friendlies is dangerous, but Ireland mixed things up well against Uruguay with direct play merged with good spells of possession.

That was the personality of the side that was impressive in the business end of Euros qualifying and performed reasonably well in the finals themselves. Austria are a team under fire trialling a relatively new formation and relying on inexperienced players in key areas. The market looks to be about right. Ireland never do things the easy way but 2.38 is a fair enough price.

Halftime - Back Ireland to lead at Halftime @ 2.88

The key for Ireland is to start positively and refuse to allow Austria to settle into the game and build some confidence. Granted, they have left it late in some of their bigger wins under O'Neill. But two years ago in a similar fixture against Scotland - in terms of the timing and stature - they really burst out of the blocks and were much the better side before the interval, taking a deserved lead. They went into their shell in the second half and lost it. If they bring the momentum from Uruguay into this game, they can lead at the break at 2.88

To Score - Back Shane Duffy @ 9.20

For something a bit different, Shane Duffy is 9.20 to get on the scoresheet and more than double that to break the deadlock with the first goal. The strapping Brighton defender is a major set piece target for Ireland and with Brady and McClean in the side, the quality of delivery should be decent. Austria's discipline was quite poor in the first meeting and conceding frees in dangerous areas could come at a price. Brady is also worth looking at in these markets given his prowess when he lines up a shot at goal.

Recommended Bets 

Back Ireland to lead at Halftime @ 2.88
Back Shane Duffy to score @ 9.20

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