Prediction and betting pick
This match will be held at Avina stadium in Dublin. Mr. Santos has called up some new players for this test against Ireland Republic. Players Tachtsidis (MID, A.S. Roma), Stafyllidis (DEF, PAOK) and Peristeridis (GK, Panionios) were included in the roster for the first time while Kone (MID, Bologna) has been called up again. This match has attracted a lot of attention by most media due to the financial crisis in both countries. Titles like “the austerity match” are all over the news but they all seem to forget it will be a very interesting match between two squads that love making things difficult for their opponents.
I did not have the time to look it up but I think it is the first time that Greece will not have any player from the 2004 squad. The last ones, Katsouranis and Karagounis, are still active but there was need for them to be included for this match. Katsouranis is still looking for a new club and it is well known that Mr. Santos does not call up players who have no team. Karagounis is trying to find his way up to the starting lineup of Fulham and there was no reason to risk an injury or the fatigue for a friendly match. Furthermore, this was a great chance for the coach to test some new players.
So far there have been only scenarios for the starting lineup based on recent performances of the players for their clubs. Mr. Santos rarely reveals his intensions and his final decisions are usually revealed in the last practice before the match. This time, the players followed a very light training schedule because the team was gathered yesterday, and no assumptions can be made. Mr. Santos will most probably test many players today so there is no need to start speculating.
Absences for Greece
A. Papadopoulos (DEF, injured since last EURO), Katsouranis (MID, not called), Karagounis (MID, not called)
Personally I would never advise anyone to bet on a friendly match. I am sure most of you have lost bets in teams that had strong motive and the quality for the win over weaker opponents. Friendly matches are even worst because coaches usually test a lot of things in their tactics show it is very common to see unexpected results.
Both Ireland and Greece are very tough when playing against stronger opponents and usually have difficulties when they are considered as favorites in a match. Offensive play is not something their good at. Since this is a friendly match I decided to take a look only on recent friendly matches of the two squads. So far Ireland Republic had five this year while Greece had four.
The coaches of the two teams have one thing in common. They do not like to lose.. Mr. Trapattoni has managed to build a strong reputation as a coach but we should not underestimate that he is 15 years older than Mr. Santos. So far both of them have a very good CV and their current teams cannot be underestimated by anyone. Both of them have understood very well their playes do not have the quality to follow an attacking mentality and for this reason they always concentrate more on not losing than winning a match. Mr. Santos has made some efforts to follow more attacking tactics in recent (official) matches it has caused problems in defense. I have come up with a couple of bets for this match that have more to do with the mentality of the teams and their coaches rather than with any possible starting lineups.
Betting Pick: The draw @ 3.20
Greece and Ireland Republic have too many things in common at this moment in terms of their mentality and their coaches. With the financial crisis background I find it difficult very difficult to see any risks by the two coaches who are always looking for a positive result.
Other bets and tips
Greece is very fond of the scoring draw 1-1 lately. Instead of risking on the draw itself I will most probably go after two half time / full time scenarios.
Ireland Rep. / Draw @ 15.00
Greece / Draw @ 15.00
If I am right that a goal will be scored before halftime, then the draw will give me a 7.50 multiplier instead of 3.20.