After narrowly missing out on automatic qualification from a group featuring World Champions Germany, Ireland have a second chance to make it to next summer’s Finals via the play-offs. They’ve been handed a tough opponent though, with Bosnia having beaten Wales and drawn with Belgium at home during the recent qualifying campaign. Bosnia have now won 11 of their last 15 competitive home matches and with the likes of Edin Dzeko, Vedad Ibisevic and Miralem Pjanic they have quality players capable of decisive contributions.
Bosnia have failed to score in just one of their 10 competitive home games in the past two qualifying campaigns but they’ve also kept just three clean sheets as seven of the matches have had at least three goals and they are not a side to rely on to control affairs.
Ireland showed their ability in the qualifiers as they took four points off Germany and Martin O’Neill will be confident his side can get a positive result here. They’ve kept just two clean sheets in their 10 competitive away games since the start of qualifying for the last World Cup but they’ve also won as many of those matches as they’ve lost (W4-D2-L4). However, we rank just one of their four victims as being in the top 100 in the world at the time, and that was 97th ranked Georgia. Beating Bosnia is far from impossible but Ireland have won none of their last 10 competitive trips to teams ranked 26-75th (we have Bosnia at 48th) though they did manage to pick up six draws.
Four years ago Ireland went to Estonia in the opening leg of the play-offs and left with a 4-0 win but they face a far tougher task here. However, the home side has won just five of 13 first leg matches in the Euro qualifying play-offs since 1999 and O’Neill’s side are a reasonable 5/6 on the Double Chance to get something from the game. However, Bosnia’s attacking threat means we just prefer the ‘overs’.
To find out more about Football Form Labs, click here