On the 16th of June, 2023, the world will be watching as the fourth-placed Ireland team seeks to secure their first points of the 2024 European Championship qualifying campaign. They’ll be heading to Athens to face off against the second-place Greece team. This is a match that promises to be a thrilling encounter, filled with suspense, strategy, and skill.
The Stakes are High
Ireland, despite their commendable effort in their first qualifying match, fell short, losing 1-0 at home to World Cup runners-up France. A victory in this upcoming match would see the Boys in Green leapfrog the Netherlands for third-place in the table. On the other hand, Greece, who famously won the competition in 2004, claimed three points in their first match of the qualifying campaign with a comfortable 3-0 away win over Gibraltar. A win for the Greeks would put them three points clear of the Dutch who suffered a heavy defeat to France in their opener.
Form Analysis: Greece vs Ireland
Ireland’s loss to France in the qualifying opener snapped a two-game winning streak for Stephen Kelly’s men. It was also the first time that the Irish had failed to find the back of the net in their last eight outings. Ireland’s away results don’t paint a very encouraging picture ahead of the trip to the OPAP Arena. They were able to put an end to a three-match away winless run in November of 2022. However, the victory would come against 172nd ranked Malta by a slim one-goal margin. The visitors have struggled against quality opposition on the road over recent years.
On the other hand, Greece is coming off a disappointing 0-0 home draw with Lithuania in their last fixture. Despite the frustrating result, Greece has largely been in a good run of form. They’ve lost just once in their last five and have won six of their last 10 overall. The Sky Blue-and-Whites will be hoping that their uptick in defensive form will continue. Greece’s back-to-back clean sheets in the last two outings snapped a four-game run which saw them concede a goal. They’ve now managed to shut their opponent out in six of their last 10 games. Five of Greece’s six wins during that stretch have come alongside a clean sheet.
Key Players to Watch
For Greece, the player to watch is Anastasios Bakasetas. The attack-minded midfielder has been on an absolute tear when playing for Greece and will be their key man here. Bakasetas has registered six goals and two assists in his last 10 international matches since June of 2022.
For Ireland, all eyes will be on promising 18-year-old striker Evan Ferguson. The Brighton product scored six goals for his club in 19 outings this season. Ferguson has four senior caps for his country and is already off and running with his first international goal despite his tender age.
Prediction and Betting Tips
This is an important fixture for both sides as they are direct rivals to challenge the group favorites France and the Netherlands. They will need to maximize their points from these kinds of matches if they are to claim a spot in the top two. Greece appears to be a bit undervalued here by the bookmakers. We would price them just below even money, closer to 1.95. This means there is a decent amount of value to be had in backing the hosts at the current market price. We’re definitely expecting a tightly-contested, low-scoring fixture here with goals coming at a premium. However, we think the Ethniki can edge this enough of the time to make this a profitable bet. Ourprediction is for Greece to emerge as the winner.
In conclusion, this match promises to be a thrilling encounter between two teams eager to secure their spots in the 2024 European Championship. With both teams having their strengths and weaknesses, it will be interesting to see how the match unfolds. As a sports enthusiast, you wouldn’t want to miss this match. And if you’re into sports betting, this is a golden opportunity to place your bets and potentially win big.
For the best odds and betting tips, check out our rating of the best bookmakers for sports betting. Remember, the key to successful betting is not just about predicting the winner, but also understanding the dynamics of the game. So, get your game face on, place your bets, and may the best team win!