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Republic of Ireland vs Belgium predictions: Football betting tips, odds and free bets



Republic of Ireland vs Belgium predictions 

Interim Republic of Ireland boss John O’Shea starts his reign with a visit from Belgium in a friendly clash at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday evening (5pm, ViaPlay Sports 2). 

O’Shea will take his place in the dugout as the FAI continue the search for Stephen Kenny’s long-term replacement with Lee Carsley reportedly turning down the role for a second time. 

Ireland are at a crossroads after failing to qualify for Euro 2024, taking only six points from their eight fixtures. The Boys in Green have not reached a major tournament in eight years, putting pressure on the Irish hierarchy to nail the next managerial appointment.

After struggling against France and Netherlands in qualifying, Belgium will represent another test for Ireland against elite opposition.

The Red Devils are one of the top contenders in the Euro 2024 odds to win the competition, but have failed to live up to expectations with their golden generation.  

The pressure is on head coach Domenico Tedesco to succeed where his predecessors Marc Wilmots and Roberto Martinez came unstuck with a talented side. 

Belgium are strong favourites with football betting sites to win in Dubin, with odds of 27/10 available for Ireland to hand O’Shea a triumphant start in the dugout.

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Belgium quality too much for Ireland 

O’Shea has named a youthful squad with one eye on the future of Irish football. There are only three players aged over 30 included in his 24-man cohort to face Tedesco’s men and only Seamus Coleman and Robbie Brady have more than 50 caps to their name.  

There are talented players coming through, such as Brighton’s Evan Ferguson, while Liverpool keeper Caoimhin Kelleher has impressed in relief of Alisson, particularly in the Reds’ EFL Cup triumph this season. But, there’s no doubt that the next man in charge needs to cultivate depth in the ranks. 

Belgium’s preparations for Euro 2024 have been dealt a blow by Kevin De Bruyne’s injury setback. Both Tedesco and Man City boss Pep Guardiola will be hopeful that his ailment is only a short-term issue. 

But, the Red Devils have been shorn of experience in recent years, and are already heading into the tournament without the outstanding goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois due to injury.

There is plenty of firepower in the final third with emerging players such as Lois Openda, Jeremy Doku and Amadou Onana blossoming at club level. 

Belgium are unbeaten in their last 11 games and have won five straight matches on the road, including a 3-2 win over Austria in their final Euro 2024 qualifier. 

Ireland did play France and Netherlands tough at home, losing by one goal in both matches. O’Shea will likely set up his side to be tough to beat and without De Bruyne, the visitors may struggle to pick Ireland apart at the back.  

So, we’re going to pick Belgium -0.5 on the handicap at odds of 1/1 with William Hill, giving us a little protection should Tedesco’s side find their form in front of goal. The bet pays out if Belgium win by one goal or more. 

Republic of Ireland vs Belgium Tip 1: Belgium –0.5 handicap – 1/1 William Hill

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Openda to make his mark

Only Harry Kane and Serhou Guirassy have scored more goals in the Bundesliga than Openda this season. The RB Leipzig forward has notched 19 strikes and four assists, making him one of the most dangerous players in the final third in Europe.  

Romelu Lukaku and Michy Batshuayi are the experienced campaigners to start for Belgium in the Euros, but Openda is certainly making his case to lead the line. 

He’s caught the eye for Leipzig in the Champions League too, scoring twice for the German outfit against Manchester City at the Etihad Stadium.  

The 24-year-old hasn’t been given much of a chance at international level, starting only one game during qualifying. In 14 appearances for the Red Devils, he has only found the net twice.

He’s a better player than those statistics suggest, and Tedesco should give him the opportunity in matches of this nature, especially without the injured Lukaku against a youthful Irish defence. 

Openda comes into the game in good form after bagging a brace in Leipzig’s 5-1 hammering of Cologne last week

We’re not convinced that Openda will get a starting berth even with Lukaku’s injury, so we’re avoiding the first goalscorer market on betting apps. Instead, we’re taking the forward to score any time at odds 11/4 with bet365

Republic of Ireland vs Belgium Tip 2: Lois Openda to score any time – 11/4 bet365

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Look out for improving Johnston 

Ireland have included several players that have impressed in the Championship this season. The second tier’s top scorer Sammie Szmodics and Middlesbrough’s Finn Azaz have had excellent seasons and could be rewarded with their first caps. 

Mikey Johnston’s loan switch to West Brom went under the radar in January as the Celtic man looked for regular first team football after struggling for gametime under Brendan Rodgers. He has flourished under Carlos Corberan’s management at The Hawthorns.

Johnston has scored six goals in 10 appearances, including a brace in the Baggies’ win over Huddersfield Town. 

Given West Brom’s injury issues in the final third, Johnston’s performances have been a huge factor in keeping the club on course for the play-offs. He did force his way into the team under Kenny, scoring in the 4-0 win over Gibraltar. 

After looking at betting sites, we like the value for Johnston to record at least one shot on target against Belgium at evens with BetGoodwin. 

Ireland vs Belgium Tip 3: Mikey Johnston over 0.5 shots on target – 1/1 BetGoodwin

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How to get free bets on football

You can get free bets on football and further promotions by signing up for gambling sites online. 

BetVictor are rewarding new customers with £40 in free bets for creating an account.  

All you have to do is sign up for BetVictor and opt in on its promotion, deposit a minimum of £10 via debit card or Apple Pay and then bet £10 or more on football on a selection with odds or evens or greater. 

Once your qualifying wager is settled, you’ll receive £40 in free bets to use on football. 

Before you use BetVictor’s sign-up offer, read the terms and conditions of its welcome bonus. If you bet on Ireland vs Belgium or any other sport this weekend, gamble responsibly. 

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