Saturday Banker Double

Saturday Banker Double

Choose Your Stake to Win

On the one hand, SPAIN don’t need to win their World Cup qualifier against Italy, although Julen Lopetegui will want to make sure there is clear daylight between his team and the Azzurri with three final games remaining.

The two teams played out a 1-1 draw in Turin back in October, with Daniele De Rossi’s late penalty cancelling out Vitolo’s goal, although Spain come into this game boasting a superior goal difference and a classier squad of players.

Marco Asensio has only played three times for the senior side although the Real Madrid midfielder looks like becoming a global superstar, while club team-mate Isco will also hope to get the opportunity to play at his home ground.

This is a Spain team still dripping with quality despite the era of dominance having ended, with Gerard Pique and Sergio Ramos making for a combative central defensive partnership, while Alvaro Morata has settled in nicely at Chelsea.

Italy haven’t put a foot wrong thus far, although this represents a stern challenge and much will depend on whether the talented Andrea Belotti can receive chances from a midfield who aren’t blessed with creativity.

De Rossi, Candreva and Montolivo are all the wrong side of 30 and they might be chasing shadows long into the night.

The REPUBLIC OF IRELAND are in a similar position when it comes to World Cup qualifying group D. The boys in green sit level with Serbia and are just two goals inferior on goal difference, with Martin O’Neill looking at the match in Georgia as a chance to improve things on that front.

However, the first port of call is to ensure the team land victory and that will mean they are heavily likely to bank at least a play-off spot for a chance to make Russia next summer.

The Republic are unbeaten in qualifying thus far, having secured a 2-2 draw in Serbia along with victories away to Austria and Moldova. James McClean has been scoring some important goals, while Jonathan Walters regularly steps up to the plate for his country and now has the captaincy.

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