– Republic of Ireland have failed to qualify for Euro 2024
– New Zealand will start their World Cup 2026 qualifying bid next year
– Recommended bet: Under 2.5 goals
Republic of Ireland go in search of only their second win in six games when they host New Zealand in a friendly on Tuesday in what is set to be Stephen Kenny’s final game in charge.
The Irish will want to put what has been a dismal Euro 2024 qualifying campaign behind them when they round off their 2023 fixtures at the Aviva Stadium against New Zealand.
They have failed to qualify for next summer’s tournament in Germany and now Kenny is expected to depart his role as boss.
Republic of Ireland lost 1-0 against the Netherlands on Saturday, while New Zealand were beaten 2-0 in a friendly by Greece on Friday so this low-key game may not offer that much in the way of goal-mouth entertainment.
Kenny may decide to offer Troy Parrott, who is on loan at Eredivisie club Excelsior from Tottenham, and Norwich forward Adam Idah chances to start in attack.
Brighton’s highly-rated striker Evan Ferguson could potentially drop to the bench as he continues to manage some minor injury issues.
New Zealand’s record goalscorer Chris Wood may be relegated to the bench after the Nottingham Forest striker made a surprise start against Greece following a recent hamstring injury.
Plymouth Argyle forward Ben Waine or Shrewsbury Town striker Max Mata are other options up front for the visitors.
Republic of Ireland are 58th in FIFA’s world rankings, New Zealand are down in 103rd place.
Ireland’s only wins in their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign came home and away against minnows Gibraltar — they lost their other six games in Group B.
The two countries have met only once before in a friendly in Dublin four years ago — a game the Irish won 3-1.
It is hard to get excited about this friendly clash which is notable as likely being Kenny’s last game in charge, as the Republic of Ireland look to go in a new direction after failing to qualify for the Euros.
Kenny will want to sign off with a win and his side are justifiably favourites against a nation not renowned for their football team but, still, a comfortable home success looks unlikely.
The All Whites were beaten 2-0 by Greece in their most recent outing and that result mirrors exactly the one the Republic suffered at the hands of the same opponents in their Euro group game in October.
Therefore, it could be wise to suggest there may be very little to choose between the two countries on the night.
Goals have not flowed for either team of late, with Republic of Ireland failing to score in three of their last five, while NZ have scored just two in their last four outings and have had successive blanks coming into this friendly.
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