Republic of Ireland vs Latvia: Head to head statistics
The first of ten matches Republic of Ireland will play in 2023, but will it be a year to remember?
The Boys in Green are desperate to qualify for next summer’s European Championships, having featured at back-to-back editions, before missing out on Euro 2020 in the play-offs.
However, Stephen Kenny’s face a real battle to get there, drawn in a group alongside France, Netherlands, Greece and Gibraltar.
With a top two finish unlikely, Ireland need to put in strong performances, seeking to build momentum and belief ahead of next March’s play-offs.
On Monday night, France will be in Dublin, so Republic of Ireland will be desperate for a victory here, with that huge qualifier in mind.
Latvia too are looking to prepare for their group opener, coming up on Tuesday against Wales in Cardiff.
Given that Croatia, Türkiye and Armenia complete Group D, Dainis Kazakevičs’ side are odds on favourites to finish rock bottom.
Last year, Latvia won promotion to Nations League C, topping a group containing Moldova, Andorra and Liechtenstein.
It’s almost 20 years since their sole major tournament appearance, coming at Euro 2004, but Latvia have very much regressed back to minnow status since then.
Ireland have won all five previous meetings with Latvia, scoring 14 goals and conceding just one, with this trend set to continue at the Aviva.
Republic of Ireland team news
Experienced players Shane Duffy, Robbie Brady, Conor Hourihane and Callum Robinson all haven’t been called up.
Stephen Kenny has deployed a back three in the past, in an attempt to accommodate both captain Séamus Coleman and Matt Doherty.
Gavin Bazunu is expected to start against France, so Caoimhín Kelleher could be given an opportunity in goal here.
Having switched allegiance from Scotland, Mikey Johnston, currently on loan at Vitória de Guimarães, is hoping for his senior international debut.
By the summer, James McClean could become just the seventh Irishman to reach 100 caps; he’s the top scorer in the squad with 11.
18 year old Evan Ferguson has been very impressive at Brighton this season, so will start for the first time, having come on in both of November’s friendlies.
Predicted XI (5-3-2): Bazunu; Doherty, Coleman, Egan, Collins, McClean; Knight, Cullen, Molumby; Ogbene, Ferguson.
Latvia team news
Dainis Kazakevičs’ team travel without key defenders Igors Tarasovs and Krišs Kārkliņš as well as veteran midfielder Vladimirs Kamešs.
Dāvis Ikaunieks and Roberts Uldriķis have both scored six times for their country, but fellow forward Vladislavs Gutkovskis is the leading scorer in the squad with 11.
Five of Gutkovskis’ international goals came in Nations League D, helping them win promotion from the bottom-tier.
Predicted XI (4-4-2): Šteinbors, Savaļnieks, Černomordijs, Dubra, Jurkovskis; Savaļnieks, Zjuzins, Ikaunieks, Cigaņiks; Uldriķis, Gutkovskis.
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