With Serbia leading the way in Group A Portugal can ill afford any slip ups in Dublin as they play their game in hand before the final match in Lisbon that will decide who secures automatic qualification for next winter's World Cup. Ireland came agonizingly close to upsetting the Portuguese in their last group stage match, leading from the 45th minute to the 89th only for a Cristiano Ronaldo brace to doom them to defeat.
Here is how you can watch the match and what you need to know:
- Date: Thursday, Nov. 11 | Time: 2:45 p.m. ET
- Location: Aviva Stadium -- Dublin, Republic of Ireland
- Live stream: ESPN+
- Odds: Ireland +850; Draw +380; Portugal -300 (via Caesars Sportsbook)
Ireland: This has been a grueling and disappointing qualifying campaign for the Irish, who still seem to be carrying the bruises of their shock home defeat to Luxembourg in March. Games against Azerbaijan and Qatar saw them net the goals that seemed to be so infrequently flowing under Stephen Kenny, whose commitment to a longer term plan for the national team has the backing of senior players.
"I probably speak on behalf all of the lads that we're fully behind the manager and believe in what he's trying to do," said Anderlecht midfielder Josh Cullen. "We're enjoying the style of football we're playing and we're starting to see the rewards results wise, from the performances we've been putting in.
"For me, it's a pretty straightforward answer: Yeah, 100 percent, I want the manager to stay."
Portugal: Qualification remains firmly in Portugal's hands even if there is little room for slip ups. Win in Dublin and Fernando Santos' side would need just a point against a difficult Serbia side to guarantee themselves top spot. They will need to do the business in Ireland without Bernardo Silva, who is sidelined with a muscular issue.
"He arrived tired, complaining, he has many games on him, and couldn't go to training," Santos said of the Manchester City midfielder. "But he's recovering well and we hope and we believe he'll be able to play here with Serbia. He won't even travel with us, it doesn't make sense because we don't consider him to be at 100 percent."
Ireland tend not to make it easy on opponents -- and Portugal often make it harder for themselves than they need to be -- but Ronaldo and company ought to get the job done. PICK: Ireland 1 Portugal 3