International friendly predictions: Browne can fire first for Ireland

Ireland were beaten 2-1 by Norway in their final home international of the year by a late goal on Thursday, but there were still positives for manager Stephen Kenny, including Alan Browne’s performance.

The Preston midfielder has yet to score a goal for his club in the Championship this season, but he netted his third international goal of 2022 against the Norwegians and looks good value to make his mark again in Sunday’s trip to Malta.

Browne pushed into dangerous attacking positions to create chances in the second half and he should have the confidence to do that again when he and his teammates face weaker opposition this time as Ireland look to go into their Euro 2024 campaign on a high.

Malta drew 2-2 with Greece on Thursday when they were pegged back by a late goal and that means they are unbeaten in their last three home matches.

However, those victories came against San Marino and Israel and this should prove a tougher game for a team who conceded 17 goals in their final three home matches of World Cup qualifying.

There is inevitably a bit of an end-of-term feeling about these internationals with the important business taking place in Qatar, but there are a couple of other decent games in the evening that provide fair punting opportunities.

Greece will have been disappointed with their draw in Malta after winning five of their six Nations League games and a trip to Hungary looks a big step up for them.

The Magyars had an underwhelming 2-2 draw themselves with Luxembourg, but this is a side who beat England twice and won in Germany in the last six months and they should prove too strong in Budapest.

Meanwhile, Italy’s 3-1 win in Albania was their third straight victory and the Azzurri should extend that run when they head to Austria.

The home team posted a 1-0 win over Andorra to end a five-match winless run, but that is hardly inspiring and it is worth noting that they took just one point from their three home National League matches against Denmark, France and Croatia.

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