Ireland lost just one of their last 10 home matches.Finland lost 60% of their last 10 away fixtures.Ireland scored one or fewer goals in 13 of their last 16 internationals.Ireland searching for first win
The Stephen Kenny era began in largely uninspiring fashion in mid-week when the Republic of Ireland snatched a late draw in Sofia against a stubborn Bulgaria outfit.
An injury-time header from newly installed skipper Shane Duffy earned the Republic a share of the spoils on Thursday evening, and while there were flashes of the new style of football Kenny is trying to implement, there was little quality on show overall.
Kenny could be tempted to shuffle his pack a little for Sunday’s second Nations League group match against Finland at the Aviva Stadium, after the youthful front pair of Adam Idah and Aaron Connolly failed to produce much from several potentially dangerous moves, though the same core of players who started in Sofia look set to keep their place.
As ever though, it’s likelier that any Irish success will be built on defensive foundations, especially against a Finland team, that ironically, struggles to finish.
Finland ousted by Wales
The Finns looked limped in the final third in their 1-0 reverse at home to Wales on Thursday, and there is every chance they could struggle to land a blow again when the travel to take on an Irish side with a reputation for giving little away.
Having lost six of their last 10 on the road, Finland’s away record is nothing to write home about, and alongside their reputation for coming unstuck on their travels, boss Markku Kanerva faces the prospect of meeting an Ireland team that will be doubly determined to get their new coach off to a winning start on home soil.
Ireland worth backing
With the aforementioned factors considered, it seems likely that the Republic will carve out a win for the first time under Stephen Kenny on Sunday, and Ireland look well priced to take three points at Finland’s expense.
Ireland were beaten just once in their last 10 assignments in Dublin, and while their football has never been easy on the eye, they have been effective enough to string together positive results for a sustained period.
The Boys in Green’s lack of cutting edge means that any margin of victory they manage to secure is almost certain to be slim however. Ireland scored one or fewer goals in 13 of their last 16 internationals, and having notched exactly once in three of their last four competitive home games on home soil, a 1-0 scoreline looks a fitting correct score prediction for their latest test there against Finland.