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Prediction: Republic of Ireland vs Moldova

07 October 2017, 12:48 | Myrtle Vega

Prediction: Republic of Ireland vs Moldova

Martin O'Neill has discussed staying on with John Delaney

But even if Wales balls up against Georgia on Friday, the Republic will still likely need a victory in Cardiff because Group D is not sitting pretty in terms of rankings for playoff spots right now.

They now head to Cardiff on Monday having to beat Chris Coleman's Euro 2016 semi-finalists, who are ranked 21 places above them by Federation Internationale de Football Association, to stand a chance of progressing from a wide-open group.

Thomas Muller and Germany could qualify for Russian Federation as long as they do not lose at Northern Ireland.

And after such a promising start to the qualifying campaign with 10 points from our opening four games, the Republic of Ireland have been in free fall since and are without a competitive win at home all year. If they finish second by winning both games, Ireland will have 13 points to their name in the play-off table.

Ireland must win their final two qualifying fixtures against Moldova and Wales to secure a place in next month's play-offs and although tonight's game at the Aviva Stadium is at the forefront of their thoughts, the future can not be ignored. I'm all-in for England and hope they do us a favour, but I'm not convinced it will be comfortable.

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It hasn't been pretty but is a scenario that Martin O'Neill and Irish supporters would probably have accepted heading into Monday night's showdown in Cardiff. I certainly would be looking forward to it.

Thomas Muller is one of the senior players who is in there and I think that, having had his own struggles, he'll be out to prove a point.

The former Celtic boss, who guided the Republic to last summer's Euro 2016 finals, told FAI TV: "I spoke to John very recently and he said on behalf of the board he would like to extend my contract for another couple of years, obviously with the Euros coming up, and I've agreed to do so". Too often in the past, Ireland have struggled to put away inferior opponents but showed what they are capable of against Moldova when given licence to pass the ball through midfield.

Shane Long's struggles are a particular concern but I can see a few different players chipping in and helping them out on Friday.

In the absence of Walters, Brady and McClean, there are openings for the likes of David Meyler, Wes Hoolahan and Aidan McGeady to win starting berths against Moldova tonight.



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