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All the details you need to know ahead of Sunday's Euro 2016 play-off draw

Where can I watch proceedings unfold, when do the games take place and does the away goals rule come into play?

MARTIN O’NEILL AND his players will anxiously wait to discover who stands between them and a place in France when the Euro 2016 play-off draw takes place on Sunday morning.

France Soccer Euro 2016 Draw The scene is set. Source: AP/Press Association Images

Ireland have appeared in more European Championship play-offs than any other nation so the Boys in Green have pedigree but one of four seeded opponents await next month.

Here’s how the draw will work:

When and where does it take place?

The Euro 2016 play-off draw takes place on Sunday 18 October at Uefa headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland at 11.20am. It will be shown live on Sky Sports News as well as streamed on Uefa.com.

Which teams are involved?

As we all know, the top two teams from each of the nine qualifying groups automatically booked their ticket for France 2016 while the best third-placed team, which was Turkey, also qualified.

The eight other third-placed teams secured a place in the play-offs for the right to join the 20 other nations (including hosts France) at next summer’s championships.

Bosnia Herzegovina, Ukraine, Republic of Ireland, Slovenia, Hungary, Sweden, Norway and Denmark are the teams vying to join the party.

How does the draw work?

The eight teams have been divided into two pots – one seeded and the other non-seeded. These seedings were determined by the Uefa national team coefficient rankings.

Soccer - UEFA European Championship Qualifying - Group D - Poland v Republic of Ireland - National Stadium Who would you like Ireland to get in Sunday's draw? Source: Tony Marshall

The national team coefficients are calculated on a country’s recent results. In the current rankings, 20% weighting is given to Euro 2012 results (qualifying/final tournament), and 40% each to the 2014 World Cup (qualifying/final tournament) and Euro 2016 (qualifying).

Ireland, currently ranked in 23rd in the coefficient standings, are unseeded for the draw and will be drawn against one of the four sides from pot one. They are:

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Seeded: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ukraine, Sweden and Hungary.

Each of those teams will be paired against a country from the unseeded pot.

Unseeded: Denmark, Republic of Ireland, Norway, Slovenia.

The play-offs are played over two legs and the team to play at home first will be determined by the draw. If necessary, the second leg will go into extra-time and possibly penalties.

When will the ties be played?

The eight play-off fixtures will be staged across six available dates in line with Uefa’s ‘European Qualifiers week of football’. Times and dates will be announced around an hour after the draw takes place.

First legs: 12/13/14 November 2015.
Second legs: 15/16/17 November 2015.

Ireland fans celebrate after the game The home tie will be crucial to Ireland's chances of qualifying for a second successive European Championship.s Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Does the away goals rule count?

As outlined above, the play-offs are played over two legs and there is the possibility that teams finish level after 180 minutes. The away goals rule will come into play at the end of the tie. Here’s Uefa’s ruling on it:

“The away goals rule counts at the end of the tie, with the team that scores more away goals qualifying for the finals. If that too is equal, then extra time is played. If, during extra time, both sides score the same number of goals, away goals count double (i.e. the visiting team qualifies). If no goals are scored during extra time then it goes down to penalties.”

This will be Ireland’s fourth European Championships play-off having won one and lost two of them. Giovanni Trapattoni guided the Boys in Green past Estonia (5-1 on agg) to qualify for Euro 2012 but there was disappointment on the previous two occasions.

Defeat to Turkey on away goals in 1999 was a bitter pill to swallow while Ireland missed out on Euro 1996 after a 2-0 reversal to Netherlands in the then one-off tie at Anfield.

Martin O’Neill will be in attendance on Sunday morning and he’ll hope to be back in the Swiss city in early December when the group stage draw for Euro 2016 takes place.

Whether Ireland have any interest could well be determined by the luck of their draw this time around. Let’s hope Gianni and the lads can do us a favour.

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About the author:

Ryan Bailey

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