Euro 2012 Play-offs

This entry was posted on Friday, November 11th, 2011

The currency may be collapsing, but there is still time for football

Estonia v Ireland

When the draw was made for the Euro 2012 playoff, pairing Ireland with Estonia, the phrase ‘luck of the Irish’ had rarely been more applicable.

This is after all, a side which went down 2-0 in June to the Faroe Islands, a side who hadn’t won a competitive European Championship qualifier since May 1995.

Quite frankly, we’d be staggered if Ireland don’t make it through. They have a team ridden with Premiership talent and with a defence that has not conceded once in their last three competive away games and in fact just one goal in the last nine games overall, you’d have thought this should be a formality.

Ireland to win on Friday night is 7/5 with Paddy Power, but we prefer the Irish clean sheet at 13/10, also with the Irish bookmaker.

Bosnia v Portugal

Euro 2004 runners-up Portugal travel to Bosnia for the first leg of their play-off for a place at Euro 2012. Bosnia’s home record in qualifying saw them win four and lose once, whilst Portugal’s defeats in Denmark and Norway suggest this is not the side of ten years ago.

In Ronaldo they do however have the best player in the world and whilst it may only be narrowly, he should be able to drag them through. He’s fresh from scoring a hat-trick against Osasuna and a brace against Lyon in the game prior. Ronaldo is as short as 4/6 with some bookmakers in the anytime goalscorer market, but bet365 go a brave 6/5 and that has to be good value. Do however, perhaps also consider the 13/10 on offer by Blue Square for Bosnia on the draw no bet market.

Czech Republic v Montenegro

Just four wins and a draw from eight games was enough for the Czech’s to get through to this stage, with a fortunate draw at Hampden Park key to finishing second to Spain. In Montenegro they face a side that hasn’t won a competitive fixture in over a year and we suspect the favourites here, the Czech’s, should advance.

Incredibly if you go back to when the Czech’s started playing as the Czech Republic (1994) they have never drawn a game at home in a European Championship qualifier and you can lay the draw at 3.85 on Betfair.

Perhaps though back the Czech’s at 8/11 with Ladbrokes to win tonight and if you fancy a flutter at bigger odds, Czech penalty taker Kadlec, who has opened the scoring in two of their previous three games, is available at 22/1 to repeat the trick.

Turkey v Croatia

The only side to beat Turkey in 2011 has been Germany but Croatia have only lost four of their last 22 so this is perhaps one of the harder matches to call.

We don’t think they’ll be much to separate the sides tonight and as such feel a draw could be the best option. Just twice in the last 21 games have Croatia conceded more than once, so 1-1 at an attractive 11/2 with William Hill looks the best bet.

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