Saturday 27 March, Aviva Stadium, 7.45pm  


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A wet evening looks to be in store with a 60% chance of rain come kick-off time. There'll be temperatures of 9C with low to moderate winds.

Time to deliver a result 

Stephen Kenny's side produced another decent performance against Serbia on Wednesday but it was a familiar outcome as the Republic of Ireland lost their opening World Cup qualifier 3-2

Much of the focus in the aftermath of that game has been on the positive aspects of the Ireland display and there were plenty to take from the game, not least the end of a seven-game goal drought. 

Supporters and pundits alike have been very understanding of the hand dealt to Kenny and how he has seemingly been hindered by injuries at every turn. 

While results have yet to turn Kenny’s way there has been an appreciation of what he’s trying to do, in introducing a new possession-based style of play, and a willingness to look past a sequence of nine games without a win.

That forbearance could come to an end if Ireland fail to beat Luxembourg, however. With defeat to Serbia already putting a dent in qualifying hopes, anything other than a win could mean that Ireland’s qualification hopes are over before they begin. 

Nine games worth of positives from defeat and 'progress’ eventually have to lead to three points and this is the first ‘must-win’ game of the Kenny era. 

Injury woes continue 

The Ireland manager is not helped by seemingly never-ending injury list he’s been dealt. 

Already down to his third-choice goalkeeper with Darren Randolph and Caoimhin Kelleher, along with the late withdrawals of Kevin Long, Conor Hourihane and Callum O'Dowda, Kenny now has to deal with the withdrawal of Aaron Connolly

The Brighton frontman came into the game with Serbia nursing a rib injury and went down with cramp midway through the second half in Belgrade. He has since returned to his club for treatment and leaves Kenny even shorter of options up front. 

Callum Robinson, Troy Parrott, Shane Long and James Collins are the strikers that Kenny has left to pick from with two of the four likely to start. 

Robinson did everything that was asked of him against Serbia and is likely to keep his place up front while Collins got on the score-sheet and will be hoping that’s enough to convince the manager to start him against Luxembourg. 

Veteran striker Long did well when he came on and is a useful option to bring in late on, while Parrott looks set for a spot on the bench, although Kenny did reveal that he could play a part.

Three at the back again

The biggest change for the Serbia game was the introduction of a back three with two wing-backs and it’s a system that broadly worked for Ireland so expect to see it deployed against Luxembourg. 

Captain Seamus Coleman was part of the defensive trio alongside Ciaran Clark and Dara O'Shea with Matt Doherty and Enda Stevens tucking back in when out of possession.

It was a system that helped Ireland to look compact and gave them extra options in midfield with the ball but there were issues, particularly with the gaps left between midfield and the defence when Serbia were on the ball. 

Dusan Tadic was able to exploit those spaces and gaps in front of the defence and as a result he was the man pulling the strings for Serbia, setting up two of their goals.

While Ireland won't come up against a player of his quality and vision against Luxembourg, there is still plenty for Kenny to tighten up if this is going to be a long-term approach. To that end Hendrick may get the nod in a midfield trio with Molumby most likely to miss out.

Luxembourg are no longer pushovers

The visitors, so long the whipping boys of qualifications groups, are an improving side eager to make a statement. 

Narrowly edged out by World Cup hosts Qatar on Wednesday when they were punished for a defensive error early in the game, Luxembourg come into the qualifying campaign off the back of a decent Nations League performance where they claimed three victories and narrowly missed out on promotion to League B.

Manager Luc Holtz favours a 4-5-1 formation but changed things up slightly against Qatar both in approach and in his team selection, giving minutes to some players who are out of favour at club level currently.

Left-back Mica Pinto picked up an injury in that game and is a doubt for the clash for Ireland but there is better news elsewhere as influential midfielder Vincent Thill is available for the qualifier games with Ireland and Portugal, having missed out the friendly with Qatar.

Thill is joined by his brothers Sebastian and Olivier in the Luxembourg squad with both Peter and Sebestian expected to start against Ireland. 

17-year-old defender Eldin Dzogovic made an appearance off the bench against Qatar and is heavily tipped to be an important player in the future, but Holtz is unlikely to throw him in against Ireland. 

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Follow Republic of Ireland v Luxembourg via our live blog on RTÉ.ie/sport and RTÉ News app, watch live on RTÉ2 and the RTÉ Player or listen to commentary on RTÉ Radio 1 from 7pm