By Ian S. Palmer
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Group D is still up for grabs in Euro 2016 qualifying as Germany, Poland and the Republic of Ireland are all fighting for first place. There’s a huge game in Warsaw on Sunday, October 11 when Poland hosts Northern Ireland with an automatic qualification to next summer’s tournament in France at stake. Germany leads the group with 19 points followed by Poland and Ireland with 18 each. Since Germany plays fifth-place Georgia in their final game on Sunday it looks like they’ll take top place. This leaves second and third place still to be decided. Neither team wants to finish the qualifying stage in third since it could mean they’ll enter a playoff round.
Poland vs Republic of Ireland – bet365 BETTING LINE:
- bet365 currently lists Poland as the favorite at 10/11 with the Republic of Ireland 3/1 and a draw at 5/2
Poland and Ireland each have five wins, three draws and a loss. Poland has scored 31 goals and allowed nine against while Ireland has scored 18 and conceded five. However, the first tie-breaker is the head-to-head record between the teams. If Sunday’s game ends in a draw that’s what will have to be used. Poland earned a huge point in Scotland on Thursday when they scored on the last kick of the game to pull out a 2-2 draw while Ireland took all three points at home from reigning World Champions Germany in a 1-0 upset. The rest of the teams in the group, Scotland, Georgia and Gibraltar are now all out of contention heading into their final group game.
The tie-breaking scheme is a little complicated, but if Germany beats Georgia it means Poland will advance to the tournament with a 0-0 or 1-1 draw. However, if the game ends in a 2-2 draw or a higher-score draw then Ireland will take second place in the group. If Germany should happen to lose, a draw between Ireland and Poland would send the German squad down to third place as Ireland would win the group due to their superiority in a the head-to-head meetings between the three teams..
Poland heads into the game with a six-match undefeated streak at home on the line with four victories and a pair of draws in qualifying games. Their last home loss came in March of 2013 when Ukraine beat them 3-1. Ireland has lost just one away game in Group D qualifying, which was a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Scotland at Hampden Park in Glasgow. They won in Gibraltar and Georgia and drew in Germany. Ireland striker Robbie Keane has 67 international goals to his name and will pull into a fourth-place tie for on the all-time top-scoring list for European soccer with his next goal.
Poland vs Republic of Ireland – Head to Head
Ireland scored in the last minute in Dublin back in March to snatch a 1-1 draw against Poland on a Shane Long goal. The two teams have met competitively just three times in the past with all three contests ending in draws. They tied 0-0 in Dublin in the qualifying stage for Euro 1992 and drew 3-3 in Poland. Overall, the teams have met 26 times with Poland winning 10 games, losing six and drawing the other 10.
Poland may be satisfied with a low-scoring draw here, but Ireland has no choice but to attack since they’ll likely need at least two goals or a win to advance. Unless, of course Georgia pulls off a huge upset in Germany.