Republic of Ireland v Portugal betting tips: Ronaldo can do damage again
Preview and odds for Thursday’s World Cup qualifier
Republic of Ireland almost claimed a famous victory against Portugal in September and will get another chance at the Aviva Stadium on Thursday.
Cristiano Ronaldo’s last-gasp double denied the Irish on that occasion and their hopes of reaching the World Cup are already over ahead of the return fixture.
Thursday’s match is live on Sky Sports and kicks off at 7.45pm as we pick out some Republic of Ireland v Portugal betting tips.
Republic of Ireland v Portugal match odds
It has been a campaign to forget for the Irish and they have just five points from six games in Group A, with the best they can now hope for being to leapfrog Luxembourg into third place.
There is little chance of complacency from Portugal as they are battling it out with Serbia for top spot in the group.
Serbia are one point above Portugal but have played a game more and the two teams meet in the final match on Sunday so Portugal have their destiny is in their own hands at least.
They have won five of their six qualifiers so far, with their only blemish being a 2-2 draw in Serbia in March.
Ireland gave them a scare last month though when John Egan gave the visitors a surprise lead just before half-time and they looked set to hold on before Ronaldo broke their hearts with his late double.
Republic of Ireland v Portugal head-to-head
Portugal’s last visit to Ireland was for a friendly in June 2014 when they cruised to a 5-1 victory despite James McClean’s second-half goal for the hosts.
Ireland came out on top in another friendly in February 2005 when Andy O’Brien grabbed the only goal of the game.
That may have been 16 years ago but incredibly Ronaldo was in Portugal’s starting line-up even then!
The last competitive meeting in Ireland was a World Cup qualifier in 2001 which ended 1-1 after Luis Figo cancelled out Roy Keane’s opener.
Republic of Ireland v Portugal key battles
Keeping Ronaldo quiet is the obvious challenge for an Irish defence which has only conceded eight goals in six qualifiers.
It is at the other end of the pitch where the Irish have had more problems and they have failed to score more than one goal in their other three home qualifiers.
A 3-0 win in Azerbaijan last month should have boosted their confidence at least and Callum Robinson scored a brace in that game before hitting a hat-trick in a 4-0 friendly win against Qatar.
All odds and markets correct as of date of publication