Australia vs Republic of Ireland Odds, Prediction, Picks | Women’s World Cup Preview
Stephen McCarthy/Getty. Pictured: Denise O’Sullivan.
Australia vs Republic of Ireland Odds
|Republic of Ireland Odds||+850|
|Over/Under||2.5 (-134 / +105)|
|Both Teams to Score (Yes/No)||(+125 / -175)|
|Odds via bet365. Get up-to-the-minute World Cup odds here.|
Australia kicks off their Women's World Cup tournament in Group B when they take on the Republic of Ireland.
The host nation did not have to qualify for this World Cup due to that designation, but the Aussies are a top 10 team in the game. They are the favorite to win their group, but they have another great team to get by in Canada who were the 2021 Olympic winner.
Ireland are making their World Cup debut after finishing second in their qualifying group behind Sweden and then beating Scotland in a qualification playoff. The Irish have had some decent results in the lead up to this World Cup and have a handful of their players playing in the FA Women's Super League, so they will be a tough test for Australia.
Australia Have High Level Talent
Australia have failed to make it past the quarterfinals in the World Cup, but on home soil they just might pull it off this year. They’ve had some impressive results in friendlies in the lead up to the World Cup, beating Spain 3-2 and Euro champions England 2-0. They also have Sam Kerr, who is widely regarded as one of the best players in the women's game and just led Chelsea to a FA Women’s Super League title this year.
This Australian team has a lot of talent across the board. Ellie Carpenter (Lyon) and Steph Cately (Arsenal) are two high quality full backs to give a lot of teams problems up the wings. Australia have favored a 4-4-2, so they fit perfectly within the system. Then they also have two outstanding wide midfielders in Manchester City’s Hayley Raso and Arsenal’s Caitlin Foord, who offer a ton of pace.
However, everything in the attack centers around Kerr. With Chelsea she was a 1.03 xG per 90 minute striker two years ago and then over the past two seasons she has been around 0.65, while also putting up good expected assist numbers.
Australia’s style of play is pretty simple. They are a quick strike counterattacking style team that wants to create numerical advantages in wide areas where their best players are. This allows them to pull defenders out from the middle of the pitch to create space for Kerr to operate in the box as they swing crosses into her. You will also see once Australia wins possession in their own final third, they like to send long balls over the top to Kerr given her line-breaking pace.
The Aussies are perfectly fine adopting both styles of play and will likely be controlling a majority of the possession in this match, but breaking down a compact low block like Ireland's is difficult, so Kerr and the wide players will have to be on their game.
Ireland Facing Uphill Battle to Create Offense
Ireland typically play out of a 5-4-1 and when they’re playing competition that are above them, they are a very direct counterattacking style team happy to concede possession. For example, they played the United State twice in April, losing 2-0 in the first meeting while only controlling 31% possession. In the second meeting they held the US to 1.2 xG in a 1-0 loss and ended up controlling 51% possession after conceding pretty early on. The concerning match was their final tune up before the World Cup against France, where they lost 3-0 and only took two shots for the match.
In possession, they are not going to build out of the back. Over the past calendar year Ireland only averaged 2.82 passes per possession and 16% of their passes have been long balls. The problem is well versed and sides know this, so it’s hard for Ireland to be successful with their “Route One” football, which was very evident against a good structured pressing team like the United States.
Out of possession, Ireland try to stay in a 5-4-1 mid-block as long as possible, but they can easily transition into a low block. They do a fantastic job of condensing the space in between the lines and closing off the middle of the pitch to not allow teams to play through there.
Australia vs Republic of Ireland Pick
Since this is the first match of the group stage you will likely see both of these teams playing conservatively. Additionally, a draw for Ireland would be massive.
Australia are one of the best teams in this world in wide areas, but given Ireland are going to commit five to six players to the back line while also playing three to four midfielders, there isn't going to be a lot of space to operate unless the commit a large number of players forward. That could lead them exposed to counterattacking opportunities, which is exactly what Ireland want them to do.
So, given Ireland's conservative low block, I think this is going to be a very low-event type match to open play in Group B. I like the value on the under.
The Pick: Under 2.5 (+108 via FanDuel)