Republic of Ireland and Croatia get their Euro 2012 underway on Sunday evening when the two sides meet in Poznan, as punters get on Trappatoni’s side with Paddy Power, who will refund losing bets if Ireland win the match.
Ireland are in their first major tournament since 2002 and they will be delighted to be taking part, however they will not just be there to make up the numbers. A victory here is vital as it looks to be the most winnable out of the three group matches as we bring you the latest Paddy Power free bets to pick up.
Giovanni Trapattoni’s men have had a good run of results leading up to the tournament and they are now unbeaten in 14 matches. They have also conceded just three goals on this run.
The Italian boss has installed his nation’s way of playing into this Irish side, making keeping clean sheets the priority and hoping they can grab the odd goal. This could set them up perfectly for Euro 2012 and Ireland could cause a few surprises.
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Robbie Keane will have to be at his best to give Ireland a chance of progressing to the knockout stages. The 31-year-old is his their all time leading scorer with 52 goals.
As for Croatia, in their three friendly matches leading up to Euro 2012 they managed a win, draw and defeat, so it is difficult to predict just how well they will do this summer.
On their day, Slaven Bilic’s men can be one of the best sides around with Luka Modric pulling the strings in midfield and bringing the likes of Eduardo Da Silva and Nikica Jelavic into play.
Bilic takes charge of his final tournament at the helm of the side after announcing that he will step down after the summer. He and his team will be desperate to finish what has been a successful spell in charge of the team on a high.
Croatia will feel comfortable in the surroundings of Poland and Ukraine and will be confident of causing some upsets and progressing to the knockout stages.
This has the makings of being a fantastic game and it all gets underway from 7.45pm on Sunday.