Republic of Ireland welcome Azerbaijan to Aviva Stadium, Dublin in their latest Group A qualifier for 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Both teams enter this match locked on zero points and a -3 goal difference after their opening three matches, meaning that whoever wins this will go fifth.
Dara O’Shea is a doubt for Republic of Ireland after suffering a knock in Wednesday’s defeat to Portugal following a collision with Diogo Jota.
Callum Robinson however is set to return after a period of self-isolation after a positive Coronavirus test alongside Alan Browne, although the latter is still recovering from a knock.
Azerbaijan have no fresh injury concerns to report after Wednesday’s loss to Luxembourg.
- This is Republic of Ireland’s first-ever meeting against Azerbaijan in all competitions.
- Azerbaijan are winless in seven away matches against British Isles based teams (D1, L6).
- Republic of Ireland have failed to score in four matches this decade in all competitions (D2, L2).
- Azerbaijan are winless in their last eight away matches across all competitions (D2, L6).
- This is the first match involving both teams to be refereed by Jerome Brisard.
Republic of Ireland will certainly come into this match feeling hard done by after delivering their best performance in a long time against Portugal in midweek, yet this has perhaps come at an ideal time because they can channel their frustrations into this match rather than linger for a week or month.
Azerbaijan though are in equally woeful form so will also be looking for a win here, as they seek to bounce back from Wednesday’s first-half flop display in Luxembourg, despite netting a second-half consolatory goal.
Either way, this is a must-win because whoever loses this match can forget any slim prospects of qualifying for Qatar, so I expect both teams to come here fighting but the home support could prove vital for Ireland.
Prediction: ROI 1-0 Azerbaijan
Result: ROI 1-1 Azerbaijan