Both of these nations failed to make the World Cup cut, but this international break will serve a key purpose in both Stephen Kenny and Valdas Ivanauskas getting to know their squads a bit better, with national team head coaches not afforded the luxury of seeing their players week in, week out like club managers.
The Republic of Ireland finished third in their World Cup qualifying group, behind a Serbia side that is stacked with world-class talent and tournament regulars Portugal. It was a valiant effort from the Boys in Green, but just not enough to end their two-decade wait for a place in football’s quadrennial showpiece.
Lithuania meanwhile collected Group C’s wooden spoon, finishing dead last having lost seven of their eight qualifiers. Ivanauskas now has the unenviable task of trying to pick over the bones from that disappointing exit and attempting to re-calibrate his chess pieces ahead of the next tournament qualifiers. This test against the Republic of Ireland, therefore, holds significant weight for both managers.
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Republic of Ireland vs Lithuania: Match Stats
Republic of Ireland will certainly fancy their chances against a nation who lost seven of their eight World Cup qualifying games, including a 4-1 defeat to neighbours Northern Ireland and a 1-0 reversal at Windsor Park in Belfast. They have also never lost to Lithuania across four outings, with this being their first tussle this century. With Kenny’s men coming into this showdown off the back of an impressive 2-2 draw with Belgium at the Aviva Stadium, the Boys in Green may feel they should be winning this game comfortably.
Republic of Ireland vs Lithuania: Squawka Says
Scoreline prediction: Republic of Ireland 3-1 Lithuania
7:45 pm Tuesday March 29
Republic of Ireland 3-1 LithuaniaInternational Friendly
10 Sep 1997 – Lithuania 1-2 Republic of Ireland – World Cup Qualifying
20 Aug 1997 – Republic of Ireland 0-0 Lithuania – World Cup Qualifying
08 Sep 1993 – Republic of Ireland 2-0 Lithuania – World Cup Qualifying
16 Jun 1993 – Lithuania 0-1 Republic of Ireland – World Cup Qualifying
As touched upon, these two nations have not met in the 21st century. You would have to go back to the World Cup qualifiers for 1998’s edition for their last meeting. Republic of Ireland finished second in Group 8 and qualified for Europe’s ‘second round’, finishing ahead of third-placed Lithuania by just the single point. Their showdown in Vilnius back in September 1997 proved decisive. Mick McCarthy’s men won 2-1 thanks to a well-taken brace from Tony Cascarino either side of Tomas Ziukas’ strike.