A late Cristiano Ronaldo double broke Irish hearts as Portugal came back from 1-0 down in the 89th minute to win 2-1 and resign Ireland to their third one goal defeat of the group.
Luxembourg’s victory over Azerbaijan has effectively left Stephen Kenny’s side with next to no chance of qualifying for the World Cup in Qatar next year, and it’s difficult to see where their next result is going to come from.
Anything other than a victory for the hosts here would be an abomination, though they’ve only won one of their last 17 matches going back to September 2019, drawing eight and losing eight of the others with the victory coming against an Andorra side currently ranked 156th in the world, so that’s nothing to write home about.
Azerbaijan are only below the Irish in this group on goals scored, and any points from here on in would be a bonus for them, with very little expectation coming into these qualifiers anyway.
They’re currently ranked 112th in the world, and their only focus at the moment will be breaking the top 100 again for the first time since 2017.
Under 3.5 Goals
This will be the first meeting between these two nations, so there’s nothing to go off in terms of direct head-to-head records, though against opposition type, Azerbaijan have lost 14 of their last 15 winless matches against sides currently ranked in the top-50, a run that stretches back to a friendly 2-1 victory over Qatar in March 2017.
Ireland, on the other hand, have won each of their last 12 matches against sides currently ranked out of the top-100, a run stretching back nearly a decade now, and on home soil they should feel confident of taking the three points here.
The goals market is well worth a look too, with Ireland seeing an average of just 1.59 goals per game across those last 17 matches, despite results like 3-2 against Serbia and 4-1 over Andorra.
With confidence likely shot for both of these outfits, prolificacy may not be at a high and a low scoring game could well be on the cards yet again for Ireland, with 13 of their last 17 seeing under 2.5 goals land.
That said it may be worth going safer and backing under 3.5 goals with 2-1 a very common scoreline for Azerbaijan.
Indeed, five of their last six outings have ended by that exact scoreline, though all of their last 19 games have seen a maximum of three strikes find the back of the net, so an unders bet still looks a likely outcome.
UNDER 3.5 GOALS
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