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While Martin O'Neill's side have demonstrated a lack of cutting edge in recent matches, Al Hain-Cole expects the return of Cristiano Ronaldo to help fire their opponents to victory

Portugal will be aiming to put the finishing touches on their World Cup preparations when they take on the Republic of Ireland in New Jersey on Tuesday evening.
 
Paulo Bento’s men have won five and lost none of their last six matches coming into this friendly and are 8/11 (1.73) favourites with bet365 to give themselves one final confidence boost with victory here.
 
With just two wins in their last 11 matches, the Boys in Green are 9/2 (5.50) outsiders to throw a spanner in the works by coming out on top at the MetLife Stadium.
 
Martin O’Neill’s side have drawn against Italy and Costa Rica in their last two fixtures and you can get odds of 21/10 (3.10) on them holding more World Cup opposition to another stalemate in this one.
 
While O’Neill described his team’s draw against Italy as "magnificent", he was less than enthused by their failure to overcome a Costa Rica side who spent the final hour of the match with just 10 men.
 
Although Kevin Doyle repaid the manager’s faith by finding the net on his first start under the former Celtic boss, his fellow attackers continued to display the lack of cutting edge that has held the team back in recent fixtures.
 
Having found the net just three times in the last four matches, O’Neill’s men should struggle against a defence who have conceded just once in their three previous warm-up games – all of which have come against fellow World Cup teams.
 
Furthermore, with Cristiano Ronaldo expected to feature after missing his country’s two most recent fixtures, those 8/11 (1.73) odds actually seem extremely generous on A Selecao picking up a sixth win in seven against a team that have gone five matches without tasting victory.
 
Nevertheless, Ireland’s tenacity under O’Neill is not to be doubted, meaning that odds of 21/10 (3.10) are well worth backing on the Portuguese victory featuring under 2.5 goals for both teams’ third match in succession.
 
BET
OF THE
DAY
BEST BET
VALUE BET
Portugal to win for a 2pt stake at 8/11 (1.73) with bet365
Portugal to win & Under 2.5 goals for a 1pt stake at 21/10 (3.10) with bet365

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Al Hain-Cole is an experienced tipster and avid follower of European football. He specialises in accumulators and if you would like to read more from Al you can follow him on Twitter here.

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