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Betting: Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland face stern tests in World Cup play-offs

6:46 PM IST 17/10/17
James McClean Ireland Wales
Martin O'Neill's men will face Denmark for place in Russia in 2018, whilst Michael O'Neill's side were handed a tough draw against Switzerland

Republic of Ireland received a favourable matchup in their World Cup play-off match as they were drawn against Denmark.

The Boys in Green beat Wales 1-0 on the final matchday to leapfrog Chris Coleman’s side and guarantee a spot in the play-offs, whilst Denmark finished second in Group E behind Poland.

Martin O’Neill’s men were 13/8 (2.63) with bet365 to qualify prior to the draw, but now find themselves shorter at even money (2.00), whilst the Danes are now 8/11 (1.72).

Their neighbours to the north, however, were handed a more difficult fate as draw-master Fernando Hierro pitted them against Switzerland.

Northern Ireland did magnificently in the main group stage, finishing as runners up behind Germany, and their opponents were pipped to the post after losing 2-0 to Portugal on the final matchday – despite winning all nine of their other group matches.

The Home Nation side, led by manager Michael O’Neill, were out at 7/4 (2.75) before the draw was made and now sit even longer at 2/1 (3.0); the Swiss, meanwhile, are heavy 4/11 (1.36) favourites to qualify for Russia.

Patriotic punters, meanwhile, can back a 5/1 (6.0) double that would see both sides qualify for the World Cup next year.

Arguably the tastiest game sees 2006 champions Italy face Sweden in a two-legged affair, with the Azzurri priced at 2/5 (1.40) and the Scandinavians available at 7/4 (2.75).

Gian Perio Ventura’s men could only claim second in their group, which also included Spain, whilst Sweden edged out the Netherlands to grab the play-off spot in Group A.

The other group game sees Croatia, who beat Ukraine 2-0 in Kiev in their last game to nab the spot from their Eastern European opponents, face Greece – Group G runners up behind Belgium. The Croats can be backed at 4/11 (1.36) to qualify, with the Euro 2004 winners quoted at 2/1 (3.0).

Check out all the World Cup 2018 odds on bet365 here!