Ireland vs AzerbaijanWorld Cup, KO: 17:00 Sep 4, 2021, Aviva Stadium
IRELAND will try and pick themselves off the floor after their heartbreaking midweek loss to a Cristiano Ronaldo-inspired Portugal when they welcome Azerbaijan to Dublin.
Stephen Kenny's side led Portugal on Wednesday 1-0 until the 89th minute before a Ronaldo double won the World Cup qualifying match for the hosts and made him the all-time top international goal scorer.
For all the hard luck stories and sympathy surrounding the Irish, it's the latest setback for Kenny with Ireland now having lost all three of their Qatar 2022 qualifiers and they are, barring a miracle, already effectively out of contention.
They are a team in major transition and in the middle of a truly horrific run – that defeat in Faro means they have now won one game in 17 and that was a friendly in Andorra.
They face Gianni De Biasi's Azerbaijani side who are in a similarly hellish run having also lost all three of their World Cup qualifiers and they have won one of their last 12 games, which was away in Belarus.
So confidence will be in short supply at the Aviva, although the Irish will at least be backed by a 28,000-strong crowd.
How the bookies view it
Recent head to heads
The two nations have never met. Here's Ireland's desperately unlucky 2-1 loss to Portugal in midweek below.
Players to watch
Aaron Connolly put in a fair shift for 72 minutes for the visitors on Wednesday and the 21-year-old Brighton starlet should be a key player for the Irish for years to come. He will fancy his chances of scoring in Dublin.
Ramil Sheydaev is the top scorer in the Azerbaijani squad with seven goals and the Qarabag striker impressed last week when he helped destroy Aberdeen at Pittodrie in the Europa Conference League.
Anything else catch the eye?
It's impossible to put any faith in the Irish these days. While they may have been desperately unlucky to lose in Portugal, it's fair to say they did ride their luck for long periods of the game and on another day, Portugal would have scored plenty if they took their chances. And the last time they played so-called minnows at home, they managed to lose to Luxembourg.
Having said that, Azerbaijan are no great shakes either and also lost to Luxembourg in midweek there in a 2-1 setback. However, they rarely get thrashed – all of their last six defeats have been by a single goal.
This World Cup match between Ireland and Azerbaijan will be played on Sep 4, 2021 and kick off at 17:00. Check below for our tipsters best Ireland vs Azerbaijan prediction. You may also visit our dedicated betting previews section for the most up to date previews.