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Another performance of quality and courage required for Ireland in Poland

09 Oct | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Another performance of quality and courage required for Ireland in Poland

Martin O'Neill's side produced one of the greatest displays in the nation's history against Germany - a similar one is necessary in Warsaw

It is tempting to think Republic of Ireland have, to borrow a popular football cliché, done the hard work in reaching Euro 2016 by beating Germany on Thursday.

The 1-0 win at the Aviva Stadium was a remarkable result – certainly one of the greatest in the nation’s history.

But a performance of similar quality and courage is required against Poland in Warsaw on Sunday to ensure their position in France next summer is not dependent on successfully navigating the play-offs next month.

A victory or 2-2 draw or higher will secure automatic qualification for Martin O’Neill’s side.

It will not be easy against the hosts, who have lost just once in 13 games and are unbeaten in eight at home.

That run includes a 2-0 victory over Germany 12 months ago and Adam Nawałka’s team, who are second in Group D and ahead of Ireland only on goal difference, are 19/20 to qualify for the tournament.

Having European football’s most in-form striker as their captain is a boon and explains why the Eastern Europeans have registered in all nine matches so far.

Robert Lewandowski is the leading scorer in qualifying and, after his brace against Scotland in midweek, his total of 12 is just one behind the record total set by David Healy seven years ago.

The Bayern Munich player, who has scored 14 times in his last five appearances for club and country, is 6/1 to score first in a Poland win.

Ireland do not possess anyone with the individual talent of Lewandowski, of course, but their progress as a team under former Leicester, Celtic and Aston Villa boss O’Neill has been impressive.

The win against Germany was the visitors’ third in succession – they are 14/5 to make it four – and seventh without defeat.

Their away form is reasonable, too, having accrued points from competitive fixtures in Georgia and Germany – plus, obviously, Gibraltar – during the previous 13 months.

For so long it has been Robbie Keane who has been trusted to score the goals, but the 35-year-old was an unused substitute against Joachim Low’s side and no longer has the legs to be relied upon.

That responsibility, therefore, is likely to fall to Shane Long, the man whose brilliant finish decided the match in midweek.

The Southampton striker has scored 14 times in 77 internationals and is 10/1 to score at any time in an Ireland win.

Three points, of course, is not actually a necessity and the 2-2 draw that would be enough to seal their place is 16/1.

O’Neill has promised his players will “go for it” in the fixture.

While such an outcome might not be as glamorous as a victory over the world champions, it would be equally as impressive.

And just as important.

Poland v Ireland betting

Euro 2016 betting