The boys in green continue their preparations for their Nations League B campaign in June with a friendly against Lithuania at the Aviva Stadium tomorrow night (kick-off 19:45pm).Stephen Kenny's side are unbeaten in their last seven matches and will be eager to continue building momentum ahead of the summer.Ireland earned a 2-2 draw in a friendly against Belgium on Saturday night as Alan Browne came off the bench to score a fantastic header in the 85th-minute.Earlier in the game Chiedozie Ogbene had scored his third international goal in just his sixth cap with an overhead kick.
The Boys in Green have suffered only one defeat in their last 11 matches, which was a narrow 2-1 loss to Portugal as Robknobldo scored in the 6th minute of injury time to break our hearts.It is a remarkable turnaround for boss Stephen Kenny who failed to win any of his first eight matches in charge but has now signed a new contract to stay at the helm of ROI football until 2024.
Ireland, who finished a distant third to Serbia and Portugal in their World Cup qualifying group last year, have never lost to Lithuania in their four previous meetings.Lithuania won 2-1 away in San Marino in a friendly on Friday, becoming only the third side to concede to the minnows in the last two years. It was just a second victory for manager Valdas Ivanauskas, who was appointed last August and has suffered five defeats in eight games so far.
The Baltic nation are ranked 137th in the world and finished bottom of their World Cup qualifying group last year with one win and seven defeats from eight matches. They begin their Nations League C campaign in June.Republic of Ireland form (all competitions): DWWDWD
Republic of Ireland:Kelleher; Dunne, O'Shea, Collins; Doherty, Browne, Sykes, Manning; Ogbene, Parrott, KeaneLithuania:Bartkus; Vaitkunas, Satkus, L. Klimavicius, Baravykas; Megelaitis; Kazlauskas, Slivka, Cernych, Novikovas; A. Klimavicius
Head to Head
Games Played = 4
Ireland Won 3,
First game these two side played against each other was in WC qualifier in June 1993, Big Jack was in charge, Ireland won 1 nil in Vilnius with the goal scored by Steve Imthegaffer Staunton
The second game in Sept 1993 (also in that WC qualifying campaign) was a more comfortable affair in Lansdowne Road with Ireland winning 2 nil.
The next time these two sides meet it was Mick McCarthy in the box seat, again a WC qualifier in Aug 1997, however it was a dower 0-0 in Dublin, and the last time we played Lithuania was in Sept 1997 again in Vilnius Ivanauskas, the current manager, started upfront but the Boys in Green were 2-1 winners courtesy of a brace from Tony Cascarino.
Bull says: Republic of Ireland 3-0 LithuaniaEven if Ireland heavily rotate, they should still be strong favourites to get a win here. Stephen Kenny's team are improving every game and it would be a surprise not to see them victorious against a poor Lithuania side.