IRELAND IN THE SUN
Good evening and welcome to Dublin for SunSport’s live coverage of the World Cup Qualifier between the Republic of Ireland and Portugal.
The Boys in Green’s hopes of qualifying for next year’s finals may be non-existent, but their enthusiasm cannot be faulted.
More than 50,000 are expected inside the Aviva Stadium tonight as Stephen Kenny’s men face the prospect of a third consecutive win for the first time in five years.
Of course, Portugal will present a much fiercer proposition than the beaten Azerbaijan and Qatar before them, but it’s only two months since Ireland pushed the Selecao all the way in the Algarve.
Two Cristiano Ronaldo goals in the final seconds not only denied Ireland a historic win, but made history for the scorer himself; with his second strike deep into injury time, Ronaldo became the highest international scorer the men’s game has ever seen.
The presence of the 36-year-old legend is a big reason for tonight’s capacity crowd yet the majority will be delighted if the Manchester United forward fails to his 115 goals for his country.
It’s not all about Ronaldo as far as the Portuguese are concerned though. A Selecao find themselves in a battle with Serbia for an automatic place at Qatar 2022, and will head into their crunch clash on Sunday as group leaders with a positive result tonight.
Kick-off in the Irish capital is scheduled for 7.45pm, and we’ll shortly bring you news of how the two sides are setting up.