Serbia v Republic of Ireland - Monday 19:45, Sky Sports 2
Serbia managed just four points from their eight games in Euro qualification, despite having only Albania, Denmark and Armenia for competition aside from Fernando Santos’s Portugal. They’ll hope for a better showing in qualification for the World Cup, where they begin by hosting Martin O’Neill’s Irish side, who put in a good showing at the Euros as they made it out of their group, but were undone by an Antoine Griezmann brace in the first knockout stage.
Following that disappointing showing in Euro qualification, Slavolijub Muslin has been brought in as manager for Serbia after a spell with Standard Liege, and he’s started well with two wins in three unbeaten games. For all their struggles, Serbia have a W7-D2-L2 home record since 2013, with both teams finding the net in eight of these matches and six seeing more than two goals.
We have Ireland ranked as the 29th best team in the world while Serbia are 42nd, and the Serbs’ record when hosting sides ranked above them is W2-D5-L2 since 2009, with all five of the stalemates 1-1’s as both teams netted in seven of these nine matches.
The Irish have proved a tough side to beat in recent times as they’ve lost only four of their last 17 games, but they’ve only won two of their 13 road games since 2013, with six draws in these games. What’s more, they’ve drawn 10 of their 15 trips to teams ranked in the world’s top 50 since 2008 and given Serbia’s similar strong stalemate trend in relevant fixtures, we’re going to back the draw and we’ll also take a punt on the 1-1 correct score since both teams tend to find the net in Serbia’s home games and the Irish have netted in six of their last seven on the road.