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Ireland given Euro 2012 boost after being drawn against Estonia

| 13.10.2011

Ireland’s hopes of making it to Euro 2012 have been given a huge boost after they were drawn against Estonia for their play-off clash.

Ireland will play the first leg in Estonia before taking the Group C runners-up back to Ireland for the second.

It’s not been all good news for the Irish though, with Robbie Keane looking likely to miss the games because of a muscle tear he picked up in their 2-0 win against Andorra last week.

With Kevin Doyle also suspended after being sent-off in their crucial 2-1 win over Armenia, Ireland will be short of options up front for the first leg but, crucially, Doyle will be back for the home leg.

Ireland will surely head into the game as favourites but Estonia are looking to do an Irish double, having beaten Northern Ireland twice in their Group C campaign, and will be no walkovers.

However, Ireland will be expected to qualify and improve on their poor record that has seen them win just one of their previous five play-off encounters.

Ireland have now come in to 50/1 from 66/1 to go all the way and win Euro 2012.

Meanwhile, Portugal face the unenviable task of playing Bosnia and Herzegovina in their play-off games.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Co beat Bosnia and Herzegovina in a play-off for the 2010 World Cup though and should have enough to make it through.

The Portuguese have remained steady at 20/1 to win Euro 2012 since the draw was announced.

Elsewhere, Montenegro – who finished second in Group G behind England – face the Czech Republic, while perhaps the most appetising draw sees Turkey and Croatia play each other in a repeat of their Euro 2008 semi final that saw Turkey beat the Croats on penalties.



Richard Anderson