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Last Updated November 14 2017, 21:03Football
Christian Eriksen & Denmark celebrate
Christian Eriksen & Denmark celebrate

Dave Tickner expects Ireland to come up short in their World Cup bid, while England look set for another tough evening.

The final European spot at the 2018 World Cup will be decided on Tuesday night in Dublin when Republic of Ireland and Denmark resume hostilities after a cagey, goalless first leg.

There's little reason to expect significant change in this one. Denmark are unbeaten in nine games but have drawn five of those. Eight of their last 13 have featured under 2.5 goals, while five of the 13 have been 0-0 or 1-0 either way.

There have been under 2.5 goals in seven of Ireland’s last nine at home, while the two defeats they’ve suffered in the last five at the Aviva Stadium have both been by the only goal.

A look at the three group games Ireland played against what we might term decent opposition roughly on a level with Denmark throws up a goalless draw with Wales, a 1-1 draw with Austria and a 1-0 defeat to Serbia.

Denmark’s last away game produced a 1-0 win in Montenegro, while they’ve also had a 0-0 draw in Romania and a 1-1 draw in the Czech Republic since an anomalous 3-2 defeat at Poland early in the qualification campaign.

Any of the low-goal correct scores look worth support in preference to skinnier outright prices. No goalscorer is 11/2, as is Denmark 1-0, while there’s bits of 6/1 here and there for an Ireland 1-0. All look perfectly fair.

My feeling is that the 11/2 on Denmark slightly underestimates their overall superiority and is marginally the better value.

But better still might be backing Christian Eriksen to score first. We’ve mentioned his name plenty of times in recent previews both domestically and internationally, and I make no apology for repeating myself here.

He will be the best player on the pitch on Tuesday night, and recent stats suggest he merits favouritism in all the goalscorer markets.

The Tottenham playmaker has scored in seven of his last nine international games. The two times he failed to score, the game ended goalless. Throughout 2017, if Denmark have scored then Eriksen has been involved.

In a match between two sides who score and concede few goals, there is nobody with a record anything like Eriksen’s, yet he is listed down with the other midfielders.

The expectation of few goals means he’s a whopping 7/2 to score anytime, but if we work on the assumption that one goal could be plenty here then it surely makes more sense to back him in the first goalscorer market, where hugely generous double-figure quotes lurk.

Eriksen has opened the scoring in three of those last nine, and in a game where one goal could well be all it takes looks by far the likeliest man to provide it.

Elsewhere, two teams already planning for Russia next summer meet at Wembley as England, on the back of an encouraging if not exactly sparkling goalless draw against Germany, meet another of the big favourites for 2018 glory in Brazil.

England’s lack of cutting edge and composure in the absence of Harry Kane (among others) on Friday night arguably cost them a victory over the Germans, and that absence of goal threat for a largely second-string Three Lions has to be a major concern once more.

Brazil, who have won 13 of 16 under Tite and six out of eight away (with two draws), are close to full strength. The world’s most expensive player, Neymar, is here, as are England-based stars such as Philippe Coutinho and Gabriel Jesus.

England’s record at Wembley, where they have won 17 of the last 20, merits respect, but their record against the genuine elite is less impressive.

As on Friday night, Gareth Southgate's team should be able to keep it tight, but I just fancy they'll struggle to get through another 90 minutes without conceding against genuine world-class opposition.

In their last 18 friendlies, Brazil have registered seven 1-0 wins against opponents including Colombia (twice), Costa Rica and Serbia.

It might not be the most imaginative of wagers, but 15/2 for another 1-0 Brazil win against an under-strength yet resilient England side seems a point or two big to me.

Recommended bets

1pt Christian Eriksen first goalscorer in Rep of Ireland v Denmark at 10/1 – Best player on show, stats suggest by far the likeliest to break the deadlock in what should be a low-scoring game

1pt Brazil to beat England 1-0 at 15/2 – Seven 1-0 wins in last 18 friendlies for Brazil, while under-strength England are resilient but toothless

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Posted at 1617 GMT on 13/11/17.

Most Read Football

Argentina had a night to forget in Russia1

Croatia stun abject Argentina

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Sporting Life's betting preview for Friday 22 June at the World Cup2

Friday's World Cup betting tips

Tom Carnduff previews Friday's World Cup action, which includes the crucial clash in Group E between Serbia and Switzerland.

Jack Grealish: The Aston Villa man is wanted by a number of Premier League clubs3

Thursday's Paper Talk

Liverpool have entered the race to sign Jack Grealish while Ruben Loftus-Cheek could leave Chelsea, according to today's papers.

France earn a crucial win4

France reach last 16

Kylian Mbappe helped France maintain a 100% record at the World Cup, firing them into the knockout stages as they beat Peru 1-0.

Denmark complain about VAR penalty decision against Australia5

VAR strikes again in Aussie draw

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