Switzerland vs Republic of IrelandEuro 2020, KO: 19:45 Oct 15, 2019, Stade de Geneve
THE Republic of Ireland stand just one win away from reaching Euro 2020 – but they will need to topple either Switzerland or Denmark to guarantee a ticket to the finals.
Plenty of punters on the Emerald Isle were left frustrated by Saturday's dreary stalemate in Georgia but with the Swiss losing in Copenhagen it has left the Irish tantalisingly close to qualification.
McCarthy claimed after the 0-0 draw in Tbilisi that he would have taken needing three points from the final two qualifiers if offered it at the start of a daunting qualifying section.
But his second spell at the helm of the Republic has been all about making the Irish hard to beat instead of taking the game to the opposition.
Drawing 1-1 in Denmark was an excellent result, as was coming from behind to claim another stalemate at home to the Swiss, but you get the sense that Ireland won't be able to actually beat either of these sides.
I tipped Switzerland to win by a single goal in Dublin and that bet would have come up had David McGoldrick not netted with just five minutes to go.
The Swiss outplayed McCarthy's side for large spells of that game but it speaks volumes about the team spirit forged by the manager that Ireland managed to bounce off the ropes to strike a telling blow.
They will probably put up one hell of a fight again in this Geneva return but I think Switzerland will get their revenge as they just have too much quality.
Vladimir Petkovic's side drew a blank in Copenhagen but they were just six minutes away from claiming a point when Yussuf Poulsen floored them with a winner.
The Swiss had by far the better chances before that strike and would probably have won had Kasper Schmeichel not made three world-class saves to deny them.
They will be fired up to make amends when Ireland come calling and I fancy Switzerland to prevail at 4/7 with Ladbrokes. Those odds aren't great however, so double a home win with a clean sheet at 13/10 with BetVictor.
The Irish haven't been great on their travels and netted just once against minnows Gibraltar so backing the Republic to draw a blank on its own looks decent value at 83/100 with Marathonbet.
McCarthy might be tempted to throw youngster Aaron Connolly on from the start after his exciting cameo off the bench in Georgia. The Brighton kid almost pinched a victory at the death and looks the best Irish option up front with McGoldrick still injured and Luton's James Collins not really up to this standard of football.
If the Republic of Ireland do get a goal then it might come from the young gun and Connolly is a tempting 5/1 with Paddy Power for anytime scorer. Sticking with the Swiss in the scorer markets is far safer though and marauding left-back Ricardo Rodriguez is an interesting option.
The Milan star netted in the 4-0 win over Gibraltar and also scored twice in the Nations League campaign. He boasts eight goals in total for his county and would have added another on Saturday had Schmeichel not kept out his thumping drive in Copenhagen.
Rodriguez is a whopping 9/1 with Blacktype for anytime scorer but is sadly shorter with more established bookies, with William Hill pricing him at 9/2 for anytime scorer.
With so much on the line for both teams I can see there being a few cards in this one. The last meeting between them had a total of five bookings so I can see plenty of players falling foul of the referee.
Irish midfielder Jeff Hedrick is as big as 5/1 with Bet365 and although he doesn't have a bad disciplinary record I can see there being a few meaty challenges in the engine room. For that reason, Granit Xhaka also stands out at 9/4 with the same firm after collecting four yellow cards for Arsenal this season.
This Euro 2020 match between Switzerland and Republic of Ireland will be played on Oct 15, 2019 and kick off at 19:45