Martin O’Neill leads the Green Army into battle tomorrow afternoon against Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Sweden. Will Burns has selected his predictions and the best ways to make a profit from this game.
Monday 13th June 2016 – 17:00 BST
EURO 2016 – GROUP E
REP OF IRELAND v SWEDEN
Preparations for O’Neill have been far from ideal, his side have failed to win any of their three warm-up matches, two draws with Slovakia and The Netherlands and they concluded losing to Belarus 2-1. With Belgium and Italy to play next, both sides will look to this game as a means of reaching the group stage so I see an open game with goals.
Ireland will rely on attacking full-back Seamus Coleman and Robbie Brady to create for the lone striker Shane Long. The Southampton, I see as an underrated talent. Mostly used as a impact sub by The Saints, Long has great ability in front of goal, with tremendous pace and a misleading great leap for a player standing at only 5ft 11inches. He can out-jump any defender put in front of him. Look to Shane Long in the anytime goalscorer market in any group game to gain a profit with small stakes.
For Erik Hamren’s Sweden, they recorded a comprehensive 3-0 win over Wales in their last friendly but they are not as strong as that scoreline suggests. Their hopes of glory this summer will fall entirely on veteran 35-year-old Ibrahimovic and with his talent and experience, you have to see him capable of defeating any defender in the tournament.
Age is an issue across the whole squad, the team is packed with a experience but they may tire before the game’s end. One guy who could be a breakthrough star is PSV Eindhoven midfielder Oskar Hijlemark if Hamren can find a place in the midfield for him.
I see goals as a safe bet in this one, with neither side standing out to me as a winner. Bet365 offer the great Over 2.5 Goals with Both Teams to Score market so I recommend taking a punt on that one.
In the head-to-head, Sweden have won five of the nine between these two and tasted victory the last time these the two met, which was a 2-1 win in 2013.
TIP: Over 2.5 Goals with Both Teams to Score (2.87 at Bet365)