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Euro 2016 draw: We rank Ireland's potential opponents in Pot 3

The groups for the tournament will be confirmed on Saturday so we take a closer look at who Martin O’Neill’s side could be pitted against.

Image: AP/Press Association Images

THE DRAW FOR the European Championship is only three sleeps away so let’s weigh up some of Ireland’s possible opponents.

Today, we look at the teams in Pot 3 and rank them from 1-6, 1 being the most favourable draw and 6 the side Martin O’Neill will most want to avoid.

1. Hungary

Hungary finished behind Romania in Group F and qualified thanks to a 3-1 aggregate win against Norway in the playoffs.

They struggled in front of goal during qualifying – scoring just 11 times in 10 qualifiers – with none of their players hitting the net more than twice.

Current manager Bernd Storck was their third man in charge during the qualifying campaign and while he will possibly have the weakest squad at the tournament, he seems to have them going in the right direction.

It is their first major finals since the 1986 World Cup and it’s hard to see them doing too much in France next year.

Verdict: Yes please.

2. Romania

Any game featuring this Romanian team is probably going to be dull.

Romania were one of four unbeaten teams in qualifying, along with England, Italy and Austria, but they offer little in front of goal – scoring just 11 in 10 qualifiers.

They conceded only twice during their qualification campaign and finished second in a weak Group F behind Northern Ireland with five wins and five draws.

Anghel Iordanescu’s side will be tough to break down but they will likely get found out in France against more potent attacks.

Verdict: Favourable draw.

3. Slovakia

Luxembourg Slovakia Euro Soccer Marek Hamsik is a key player for Slovakia. Source: AP/Press Association Images

Slovakia qualified second in Group C behind Spain and ahead of Ukraine, beating the Spaniards 2-1 at home in October 2014.

With the likes of Marek Hamsik (Napoli), Juraj Kucka (AC Milan) and Martin Skyrtel (Liverpool), Jan Kozak’s side have a strong spine.

The Slovaks look well equipped to make their presence felt at the nation’s first European Championships.

Ireland have played the Slovaks four times (qualifiers for Euro 2008 and 2012), winning one and drawing three.

Verdict: Not the perfect draw but could be worse.

4. Sweden

The Swedes finished third in Group G behind Russia and Austria before a 4-3 aggregate defeat of Denmark in the playoffs.

PSG striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic is undoubtedly their star man but beyond him, there is not a lot to fear in this Swedish squad.

Erik Hamren’s side can score goals but Ibrahimovic was responsible for more than 50% of his side’s successful strikes in the qualifiers. Stop Zlatan and you’re well on your way to stopping Sweden.

Verdict: Decent draw.

Source: AP/Press Association Images

5. Czech Republic

The Czechs were impressive in qualifying, winning Group A ahead of Iceland, Turkey and the Netherlands.

They beat the Dutch twice in qualifying but that was a Netherlands side that looked a shadow of what we have come to expect – it’s still hard to comprehend how bad they were.

Pavel Vrba’s charges don’t score a lot of goals (19 in 10 qualifiers) and they failed to keep a clean sheet across their 10 games. But they are well organised and strong in the middle of the park – Sparta Prague’s Borek Dockal was particularly impressive in qualifying.

The Czechs have an excellent record against Ireland, having won four of the eight contests.

Verdict: Not ideal – there are easier options in Pot 3.

6. Poland

Robert Lewandowski scored 13 goals in qualifying. Source: AP/Press Association Images

Ireland know the dangers of Robert Lewandowski and Poland all too well after a draw and defeat against them in Group D.

Poland were the top scorers in the qualifiers with 33, although that did include eight and seven-goal hauls against Gibraltar.

Bayern Munich star Lewandowski has enhanced his claim as one of the best strikers on the planet with 20 goals in 22 appearances for the German champions this season. But there is a lot more to this Polish team than the prolific 27-year-old with the likes of Ajax youngster Arkadiusz Milik showing huge potential.

Adam Nawalka’s outfit outplayed Ireland in Warsaw two months ago while a late Shane Long strike rescued a point for Martin O’Neill’s side in the home fixture in March.

Verdict: No thanks.

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About the author:

Alan Waldron

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