Republic of Ireland welcome Portugal to Aviva Stadium, Dublin, in their final home match of Group A as UEFA Qualifying for 2022 FIFA World Cup begins to draw to a close.
If Luxembourg fail to win away in Azerbaijan, Republic of Ireland can climb to third in Group A, whereas Portugal can go top of the group with victory.
James Collins is unavailable for Republic of Ireland after withdrawing from the squad with a hand injury, as Callum O’Dowda looks to start after being called up as Collins’ replacement.
Seamus Coleman will be looking to start after missing last month’s wins over Azerbaijan and Qatar through injury.
Portugal will be without Anthony Lopes, Joao Mario and Rafa Silva after the trio withdrew due to fitness issues.
Bernardo Silva is a doubt after suffering a muscle injury which forced him to sit out training on Tuesday.
- Republic of Ireland have won just one of their last five meetings against Portugal in all competitions (W1, D2, L2).
- Portugal have won two of their last five visits to Republic of Ireland (W2, D1, L2).
- Callum Robinson has scored five goals in Republic of Ireland’s last two matches (W2).
- Andre Silva has scored in each of Portugal’s last two away matches in all competitions (W2).
- This is the first match involving Republic of Ireland to be refereed by Jesus Gil Manzano, although Portugal won their only clash under Manzano – winning 2-0 at Luxembourg in November 2019.
Since losing away to Portugal just over two months ago, Republic of Ireland have really turned things around with four games without defeat, of which they were simply dominant against Azerbaijan and Qatar last month but the pressure is on to prove that those results weren’t just a fluke.
Portugal meanwhile simply cannot afford to slip up here especially with a crunch qualification decider against Serbia to come on Sunday, yet will be boosted by Cristiano Ronaldo’s form if he can convert his current form for Manchester United into international quality here.
Quite frankly, I feel like this is Portugal’s to lose on paper but if Ireland can continue their upward trend, I can see them making a strong fight of this but they will need a huge defensive effort to win which I just can’t see happening.
Prediction: ROI 1-2 Portugal
Result: ROI 0-0 Portugal