Futility personified and a 0-0 thriller in Dublin
Tonight we will witness a televised definition of futility, as Scotland attempt to qualify for Euro 2012 by beating Spain.
October 11th, 2011
Yes, that’s the World Champion Spain that we’re referring to, and Scotland will (in all likelihood) need to take three points from them in Alicante tonight.
Technically, Scotland can qualify without doing the unthinkable, although they will be relying on the Czech Republic to drop points against Lithuania in Kaunas at the same time. Should Scotland at least match what the Czechs do, they get to spend the summer getting hammered in Poland and Ukraine.
If the mountain that Scotland has to climb wasn’t steep enough, they will be forced into giving late fitness tests to Kenny Miller, Craig Mackail-Smith, Barry Bannan and Darren Fletcher.
Spain, to give the Scots some hope, may have a bit of a reshuffle given that they have already qualified, but don’t expect too much charity tonight. Not even the 16/1 on offer can tempt us into backing Scotland against a side that hasn’t lost a home international since November 2006.
On that basis, we’re inclined to give the match a wide berth and instead chuck some money at the Republic of Ireland, who play Armenia in Dublin.
Whilst the Irish can qualify outright tonight, it is likely that Trapattoni’s side will be playing for a play-off place tonight (they need a monumental slip-up by Russia against Andorra to achieve anything better) and draw will assure them of that.
And that won’t be as easy as it sounds, with the Armenian’s being a much improved side in this qualifying campaign. In fact, they arrive at the Aviva Stadium on the back of three victories and 11 goals scored.
Ireland themselves have form too however, having emerged from their last eight matches unbeaten and what’s more, they’ve kept a clean sheet in every one of those games. Their last defeat was a 3-2 reverse to World Cup semi-finalists Uruguay in March.
Robbie Keane is out for the Republic but Richard Dunne is back from suspension to marshal the defence and in what is likely to be a tense clash in Dublin, we think that the 10/1 on the 0-0 draw is worth a look (and the last two games at the Aviva have been goal-less affairs).
Finally, we like the look of the 3/1 on Wales to win in Bulgaria, given their recent good form and the woeful form of their opponents. With two wins from three, including a 2-0 win over Switzerland, a 2-1 success over Montenegro and that valiant performance against England at Wembley.
Bulgaria on the other hand, are a side in crisis. They haven’t won in the last four and have conceded six goals in the last two games. Their last success in Euro 2012 qualifying was a 1-0 against Wales, although the fortunes of both sides have changed dramatically since then.
Rep of Ireland vs Armenia: Correct score 0-0 @ 10/1
Bulgaria vs Wales: Wales to win @ 3/1