Ireland VS Luxembourg, the hosts to pick up a maiden Group A victory

Posted Sat, 27 Mar 2021 09:29:28 GMT        

Match Time:3/28/2021 03:45 Sunday  (GMT+8)

FIFA World Cup qualification (UEFA) --  Ireland   VS   Luxembourg

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Republic of Ireland will look to bring an end to their winless start to life under boss Stephen Kenny when they host Luxembourg in a World Cup 2022 qualifier on Saturday night.


The Boys in Green fell to a 3-2 loss against Serbia in their opening Group A fixture on Wednesday, while Luxembourg went down 1-0 to Qatar in a friendly on the same day.


Match preview

With the loss in Belgrade, Kenny is the first Ireland boss to fail to win his first nine games since Mick Meagan, who did not win any of his 12 games between 1969 and 1971.


Six of those games have ended in defeat, seeing Ireland finish third in their UEFA Nations League group and fall short in the Euro 2020 playoff qualification rounds.


Alan Browne headed Ireland ahead against Serbia, but Aleksandar Mitrovic scored twice after Dusan Vlahovic equalised, rendering James Collins's late goal a mere consolation.


Second place in Group A will still be the target for Kenny, meaning a playoff spot for Qatar 2022, and this visit of Luxembourg presents the best chance yet to get off the mark.


The minnows have lost three and drawn one of their last four games, most recently going down to World Cup hosts Qatar in Wednesday's friendly through Mohammed Muntari's early goal.


However, Luxembourg enjoyed a positive Nations League campaign in the autumn, winning three, drawing one and losing one of their four games against similarly-ranked nations.


The Red Lions will take confidence from that as they seek what would be a shock victory at the Aviva Stadium, albeit at a ground where the hosts are winless in four.


Sacking Kenny a year into his tenure would have been unthinkable when he was ushered in as Mick McCarthy's successor, but anything less than a win here and that is a possibility.


This will be the sixth ever encounter between the European nations, with Ireland winning each of the previous five, the most recent of those a 2-1 Euro 88 qualifying victory.


Republic of Ireland World Cup Qualifying - Europe form:L

Republic of Ireland form (all competitions):DLLLDL

Luxembourg form (all competitions):WWLLDL


Team News

Darren Randolph's absence from the squad meant a third cap for Mark Travers against Serbia, and the youngster is likely to get the nod here despite a costly error in Belgrade.


Kenny favours a back five system, allowing him to shoehorn Seamus Coleman and Matt Doherty into the side, and that should remain the case against Luxembourg.


Shane Long made an impact from the bench against Serbia and is in line for a recall up top alongside Callum Robinson, who has one goal in 16 senior caps.


As for the visitors, Vahid Selimovic and Dirk Carlson are not part of the squad, so changes will have to be made following their last competitive match four months ago.


Gerson Rodrigues has Champions League experience with Dynamo Kiev and is expected to lead the line for Luxembourg.


Republic of Ireland possible starting lineup:

Travers; Coleman, Clark, O'Shea; Doherty, Hendrick, Cullen, Browne, Stevens; Long, Robinson


Luxembourg possible starting lineup:

Moris; Jans, Gerson, Mahmutovic, Pinto; O.Thill, Pereira, Martins; V.Thill; Muratovic, Rodrigues


Republic of Ireland 2-0 Luxembourg


Ireland VS Luxembourg, the hosts to pick up a maiden Group A victory