Republic of Ireland will welcome Scotland to the Aviva Stadium in Dublin for their third 2022/23 UEFA Nations League encounter.

Republic of Ireland were on an eight-match unbeaten streak before suffering back-to-back losses to open their 2022/23 UEFA Nations League campaign. Scotland, on the other hand, have won their only match so far in the competition, a 2-0 win over Armenia.

Ireland fell 1-0 to Armenia in their opening match of the campaign before losing to Ukraine in their last encounter by a similar margin. The two defeats have left them at the bottom of Group B1, and they now need favourable results in their remaining encounters to move up the standings.

Scotland, meanwhile, are sitting pretty at the top of the group table. Anthony Ralston and Scott McKenna’s first-half strikes were enough for Steve Clarke’s side to get all three points to start their Nations League campaign on a high.

Scotland now have two important group matches coming up as they look to solidify their spot at the top of the standings. They face Republic of Ireland first on June 11 before the return fixture against Armenia on June 14.

Scotland are on a hot run of form as well with just one defeat in their last ten encounters, which came against Ukraine in the FIFA World Cup qualifiers. They responded brilliantly to the disappointment against Ukraine with a win over Armenia and will want to continue in a similar vein when they take on Ireland.

Team News & Tactics

Republic of Ireland

Stephen Kenny could be without centre-back John Egan who had to come off injured in Ireland’s previous encounter against Ukraine. The Republic of Ireland head coach is also hoping for Seamus Coleman to gain full fitness ahead of the encounter, but there is still a big question mark over his availability.

Kenny is expected to continue with a 3-4-3 that he employed against Ukraine as well but there could be some alterations to the XI that started the last match. Most notably, Swansea City’s Michael Obafemi could start in attack.

Liverpool’s Caoimhin Kelleher will start as the goalkeeper with a back three of Nathan Collins, Shane Duffy and Dara O’Shea, who is expected to come in for Egan, protecting him. Cyrus Christie and Enda Stevens will most probably retain their respective wing-back spots.

Jeff Hendrick and Josh Cullen will form the double pivot with the attacking trio of Callum Robinson, Obafemi and Jason Knight doing the damage up front.

Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Kelleher; O’Shea, Collins, Duffy; Christie, Cullen, Hendrick, Stevens; Robinson, Obafemi, Knight

Scotland

Scotland head coach Steve Clarke employs a similar system to his Republic of Ireland counterpart, Stephen Kenny. Manchester United’s Scott McTominay could get a look-in for this encounter, but he is only expected to start as part of a back-three.

Liverpool left-back Andrew Robertson could be given a rest but gauging the importance of this match-up, it is unlikely that Clarke will take such a step. Aaron Hickey could replace Robertson if the latter is made to start on the bench, especially after a gruelling season with the Reds.

There are not expected to be wholesale changes to the side that started against Armenia, with Craig Gordon expected to take up the goalkeeping spot. McTominay could come in for John Souttar to form a back three with Jack Hendry and Scott McKenna.

Anthony Ralston and Robertson are expected to take wing-back positions, with John McGinn and Callum McGregor assuming midfield duties. Stuart Armstrong, Che Adams and Ryan Christie will complete the starting eleven.

Probable Lineup (3-4-3): Gordon; McTominay, Hendry, McKenna; Ralston, McGinn, McGregor, Robertson; Armstrong, Adams, Christie

homecrowd-formation-NaWSzYiQOpIdlMNhUNzw

Key Stats

  • Republic of Ireland and Scotland have met 11 times in the past, with both winning four matches each while three matches have finished in draws.
  • This will be the first meeting between Republic of Ireland and Scotland since June 2015 at the Aviva Stadium in a UEFA Euro 2016 qualifier. The game ended 1-1 with Jon Walters netting for the Boys in Green and Scotland later equalising through a John O’Shea own-goal.
  • Republic of Ireland have picked up just one win from their last 13 games against nations from the United Kingdom (D7 L5), winning 1-0 against Wales in a World Cup qualifier in October 2017. In fact, they have failed to score in their last five such games.
  • Scotland have lost just one of their last 10 games in all competitions (W7 D2), going down 3-1 at home to Ukraine earlier this month.
  • Republic of Ireland have never won a UEFA Nations League game (D5 L7), with the Boys in Green netting just two goals in their 12 games in the competition.

Player to Watch

Michael Obafemi

Embed from Getty Images

Obafemi is expected to start in the attack for Republic Ireland after a decent season in the EFL Championship. He scored 12 league goals for Swansea City in the 2021/22 campaign. Expect him to be heavily involved in his team’s attacks should he get some time on the pitch.

Prediction

Republic of Ireland 1-1 Scotland

Both the teams look very well-matched on paper, and despite coming into the encounter with contrasting results last time out, we expect them to play a closely-fought encounter. The Hard Tackle predicts an exciting match that could finish level with both the teams scoring one goal apiece.

Leave A Comment...

*