Fabio Capello’s side welcome world champions Spain to Wembley in what will be a friendly sure to thrill, while Giovanni Trapattoni will hope to guide his Irish team to next summer’s European Championships with victory over Estonia.
So, without further ado, here are our secretive resident football betting expert’s tips for the final international break of the calendar year.
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Robbie Keane may now be plying his trade in Major League Soccer after leaving Tottenham Hotspur in August, but the Republic of Ireland captain still possesses his goalscoring prowess â€“ the striker has already scored four goals since moving stateside. The 31-year-old holds the Irish record for the most international goals – 51 in total – and he has a knack of netting in the big games, too. So, The Tipster fancies Keane to grab Giovanni Trapattoniâ€™s men a crucial away goal on Friday at 7/4.
The Republic of Irelandâ€™s successful Euro 2012 qualifying campaign has been built around a mean defence. The Men in Green’s back-four has conceded just two goals on their travels, which have included tough trips to Moscow and Zilina. And Trapattoni has the experienced Shay Given, John Oâ€™Shea and Richard Dunne available for the first leg of their play-off in Estonia on Friday – all helping to make 11/8 for a clean sheet good value here.
Ireland have suffered plenty of play-off heartbreaks. The legion of Green Army fans need no reminding of defeats by France (in 2009), Turkey (in 2000) and Belgium (in 1998). The two-leg tie against Estonia is clearly their best chance of reaching a major tournament since their appearance at the World Cup in 2002. The Irish are favourites to progress, and Trapattoni has enough quality at his disposal to ensure they book their place at next summer’s competition. The Tipster is confident Ireland will qualify over the two legs, so back them at 4/11.
The Tipster is brimming with excitement over the prospect of two of Europeâ€™s most exciting teams coming face-to-face at football’s greatest cathedral. World and European champions Spain hit a staggering 26 goals in eight games during their Euro 2012 qualifying campaign and their prolific line-up will be difficult to keep quiet. Meanwhile, England averaged a respectable two goals a game in Group G, so The Tipster is predicting goals â€“ over 2.5 to be precise â€“ at 23/20.
England have suffered three successive defeats by Spain since 2004, conceding four goals in the process. In fact, the last time The Three Lions tasted victory against their Iberian rivals was during Sven-Goran Erikssonâ€™s first game in charge, when Pep Guardiola was part of a Spanish defence that shipped three goals. But how times have changed since 2001. Vicente del Bosqueâ€™s side are now the best in the world, and they have scored 15 goals in their last five games, while England have struggled to perform at Wembley of late. So The Tipster’s audacious volleyed attempt for this edition is for Spain to win by two goals on Saturday at 4/1.
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