The second round of matches in Group C at Euro 2012 kicks off on June 14th, and Ireland face the formidable task of getting their campaign back on track against the reigning World and European Champions, Spain. Needing a draw at the very least, will Ireland’s tournament effectively end on Thursday evening?
First Player Booked – Keith Andrews 10/1 @ Paddy Power
Euro 2012 Match Odds
Even the most optimistic Irish fans will find it hard to make a case for Ireland progressing from Group C. Their cause is not helped by the Spain v Italy draw in game 1, as the reigning Champions now require maximum points from this game and will not settle for a point if things are level heading into the closing stages.
As short as 3/13, Spain are massive favourites, and it is likely that Ireland will be starved of any meaningful possession. The likes of John O’Shea, Richard Dunne and Sean St Ledger are all strong physical defenders, much happier in a contest of strength, rather than the more subtle tests of staying with Spanish runners or reading and cutting out passes. After shipping 3 against Croatia, things look ominous for Trapattoni and his men.
Ireland can boast however, a robust defensive record. Before punters rush out to back Spain bagging 4, 5 or 6, it is worth looking at the record of Ireland, both in qualifying and previous tournaments – they do not lose heavily very often. This is a huge test however, and it might pay to try and extract some value from the more obscure markets.
The midfield battle will be long and arduous for Keith Andrews. Having spent part of last season on loan in the Championship with Ipswich, Andrews now finds himself toe-to-toe with Europe’s finest and against Croatia and Luka Modric, he looked a little out of his depth. There is no footballing prospect more daunting than trying to cope with Xavi, Iniesta, David Silva et al. At 10/1, Andrews looks a fair punt to pick up the first booking of the match as he tries to shackle some of the most gifted passers on the planet.
Euro 2012 Tip
10/1 (Paddy Power) is a big price for Keith Andrews to pick up the first booking of the match. While his defensive colleagues may also be put under intense pressure, it is midfield where Ireland will need to compete for possession and it looks very likely that Andrews will come out second best.