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Preview: Andorra vs. Republic of Ireland - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Thursday's International Friendlies clash between Andorra and Republic of Ireland, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Stephen Kenny will hope to finally get his first win as Republic of Ireland boss when his side travel to Andorra in an international friendly on Thursday.

The Dublin native has had 11 games in the hotseat so far but is still yet to taste victory and failure to beat one of Europe's whipping boys would be a shock.


Match preview

Republic of Ireland's James McClean comes on as a substitute against Luxembourg on March 27, 2021© Reuters

Since taking over from Mick McCarthy last year, former Under-21 boss Kenny has found life in the dugout a struggle and there are already question marks over his future in the role.

Under his watch, Ireland have lost their Euro 2020 playoff, failed to win in their six-game Nations League campaign, lost two from two in 2022 World Cup qualifying (including against Luxembourg) and drawn a friendly against Qatar, while they have only scored four goals.

A double header of friendlies – the Boys in Green also travel to Hungary next week – is Kenny's chance to put some much-needed foundations in place before World Cup qualifying resumes in earnest in September away in Portugal.

However, life has not been made easy for the 49-year-old, who has had to name a weakened and relatively inexperienced squad this month, with the likes of Ciaran Clark, Jeff Hendrick, Robbie Brady and James McCarthy all unavailable.

Nonetheless, nothing less than victory is expected at Andorra's Estadi Nacional; Ireland have played the minnows four times before and been triumphant on every occasion, most recently a 2-0 win in qualifying for Euro 2012.

Andorra coach Koldo Alvarez pictured on March 28, 2021© Reuters

Andorra have only ever won seven games since joining FIFA in 1996 and are currently ranked 158th in the world, while Ireland are 47th.

The Iberian nation were last victorious in October 2019 against Moldova but since then have lost 11 out of 14 games, conceded 34 goals and scored just five times – including a penalty in their last outing against Hungary in March.

Koldo Alvarez, a goalkeeper who earned 78 caps for Andorra, has been the country's manager since 2010; he has overseen 85 games and four wins.

The current squad is made up of individuals plying their trade in the Andorran top flight or the lower divisions of Spanish football, except for former Real Madrid C defender Marc Vales, who plays in Norway and Greek second tier midfielder Jordi Alaez.

Andorra form (all competitions):
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L

Republic of Ireland form (all competitions):
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • L
  • L
  • D



Team News

Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny pictured on November 15, 2020© Reuters

Andorra went with a five-man defence in two of their three World Cup qualifiers in March in an attempt to keep goals conceded at a minimum, and will likely to do so again on Thursday.

No player in the squad has more international goals than winger Christian Martinez (five); Marc Rebes and 38-year-old Marc Pujol are the only others with more than one.

Ireland's already depleted squad has been further hit in recent days, with Darren Randolph, Callum Robinson and Aaron Connolly all withdrawing through injury.

Captain Seamus Coleman has been ruled out of Thursday's game with a hamstring injury but is expected to be available for next week's trip to Hungary.

There are six uncapped players in the Irish squad, including Norwich City teenager Andrew Omobamidele and Liverpool goalkeeper Caoimhin Kelleher.

Andorra possible starting lineup:
Gomes; Rubio, San Nicolas, Vales, Llovera, Cervos; Martinez, Vieira, Rebes, Pujol; Alaez

Republic of Ireland possible starting lineup:
Bazunu; Egan, Duffy, O'Shea; Doherty, Cullen, Knight, Arter, Manning; Collins, Idah


SM words green background

We say: Andorra 0-3 Republic of Ireland

Republic of Ireland's recent results have been poor and plenty of players are missing, but there is still a host of Premier League and Championship quality in their side and the younger names should be given the chance to express themselves; it might be game over for Kenny if the worst really does happen.



Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data


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How you voted: Andorra vs Rep. Irelvs

Andorra
20.8%
Draw
14.6%
Republic of Ireland
64.6%
48
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Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny after the match on March 27, 2021
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