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On The Racket, We Offer A Big Reason To Be Optimistic And Our Tasty Bet Of The Day

On The Racket, We Offer A Big Reason To Be Optimistic And Our Tasty Bet Of The Day

Following the invigorating display against Sweden, the Belgians - who had supposedly fallen to infighting - arrived along with a needle for the Irish balloon on Saturday afternoon.

Such is the air of deflation, it's been easy to overlook the fact that our do or don't game in Lille is just over 48 hours away. A win there and it would take an extremely bizarre and unlucky set of results to bar us from the knockout stages. The Bordeaux nightmare will be shuffled to the back of people's minds.

The Italians are already assured, not only of qualification, but of top spot in the group. They have a longstanding tradition of rolling out the deckchairs in such circumstances. As John Foot, that great scholar of Italian football, has noted, in Italy, playing for pride alone is an alien concept and 'useless effort' is frowned upon. Antonio Conte has already declared his intention to give a run-out to a raft of second stringers.

Therefore, and without wishing to sound in any way complacent, our takeaway for the coming week is that Ireland will beat Italy and qualify in one of the best third place spots. 

Elsewhere, we welcome back Donny Mahoney from Bordeaux, where he mingled with the Irish fans and sat among the press corps. The Irish supporters took the pasting in their stride, we are happy to report. Conor Neville, meanwhile, watched the game in a Dublin pub and highlighted three distinct reactions to Ireland's humbling in the second half.

Ladbrokes Bet of the Day

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After a rip-roaring opening, our Ladbrokes Bet of the Day has suffered some serious reputational damage in the last week. There's no point in saying any different.

It feels like a long time since our last correct pick, a 1-1 draw with Sweden on Monday. Since then we've missed five days running.

And yet, we are still €250 ahead. All because we could do no wrong on the opening two days.

Tonight is the Group B climax. England - virtually assured of qualification - play Slovakia. Wales play Russia and could really do with a draw.

Last Thursday, Jamie Vardy was sprung from the bench in time to score England's equaliser. The man seems incapable of going a game without scoring. There is a long tradition of strikers getting up a head of steam during summer tournaments and proceeding to light up the summer.

The odds of him grabbing a goal and England winning are at 4/1. Chastened after the Belgium-Ireland game, we're putting on a relatively conservative €30. Get on it.

Read more: View From A Dublin Pub: There Were 3 Distinct Reactions To Ireland's Brutal 2nd Half

Conor Neville
Article written by
Perennial finalist in stand-up comedy competitions and former Contract Lawyer/ Coal Salesman with Corless, Corless and Sweeney