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Dublin: 8 °C Thursday 12 December, 2019
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We go again: Ireland back in the spotlight as Euro 2021 draw takes place today

Colin Bell’s side will hope to reach a first-ever major tournament this time around.

The Ireland WNT are in the spotlight again.
The Ireland WNT are in the spotlight again.
Image: Morgan Treacy/INPHO

WE GO AGAIN. 

The Uefa Women’s Euro 2021 qualifying draw takes place this afternoon as Colin Bell’s Ireland get back on the horse and open their bid once again to qualify for a first-ever major tournament. 

The Girls In Green are in touching distance, it must be said, and we saw that as they came close in the 2019 World Cup qualifiers. Top seeds Norway ultimately crushed the dream after a glowing start to a memorable campaign in which they earned a famous 0-0 draw away to Euro 2016 champions the Netherlands.

With all focus back on the Euros once more, the qualifying group stage draw takes places in Nyon, Switzerland, this afternoon at 1.30pm, and will be streamed live on UEFA.com.

A record 48 teams will be hoping to join hosts England in the 16-strong line-up at the July 2021 tournament.

The seedings have been confirmed, with the Republic of Ireland (20th in the coefficient rankings) in Pot 3 today. Here’s a closer look:

Diane Caldwell with Colin Bell Colin Bell with Diane Caldwell. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

Pot 1: France*, Germany*, Netherlands (holders)*, Spain*, Sweden*, Norway*, Switzerland, Scotland*, Italy*

Pot 2: Austria, Denmark, Iceland, Belgium, Russia, Wales, Ukraine, Finland, Czech Republic

Pot 3: Portugal, Republic of Ireland, Poland, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, Hungary, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Belarus

Pot 4: Turkey, Slovakia, Croatia, Northern Ireland, Greece, Israel, Kazakhstan, Albania, Moldova

Pot 5: Faroe Islands, Malta, FYR Macedonia, Estonia, Montenegro, Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania, Azerbaijan, Cyprus, Kosovo

(Note that Pots 1-4 have nine sides each, Pot 5 has 11)

*Competing at 2019 Fifa Women’s World Cup

With nine groups to be formed — two with six teams and seven with five — here’s how this afternoon’s draw will go, as per Uefa procedure:

Katie McCabe celebrates scoring with her teammates Captain Katie McCabe with her team. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

  • A ball will first be drawn from Pot 5 to determine the team in the sixth position of Group A. A second ball will be drawn from Pot 5 to determine the team in the sixth position of Group B. A third ball will be drawn to determine the team in the fifth position of Group A. Then a fourth ball will be drawn from Pot 5 to determine the team in the fifth position of Group B. The same procedure is repeated until the fifth position in Group I is filled.
  • Then, the nine teams in Pot 4 are drawn into the fourth position of each group, starting with Group A and ending with Group I (in alphabetical order).
  • The same procedure applies to Pots 3 to 1 taking into consideration the respective positions within the respective groups
  • Based on the UEFA Executive Committee decisions valid at the time of the draw, Kosovo cannot be drawn with either Bosnia and Herzegovina or Serbia.

Matches will be played home and away from 26 August 2019 to 22 September 2020.

Each group winner and the three best runners-up will join England at the final tournament. The other six runners-up will play off in October 2020 for the remaining three spots in the 16-team finals.

Leanne Kiernan celebrates scoring her sides first goal with Katie McCabe Ireland stars Leanne Kiernan and Katie McCabe. Source: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

The Ireland squad, captained by 23-year-old Dubliner Katie McCabe, have been busy over the past few months between testing international friendlies, intensive training camps and much more. 

The young side opened 2019 with a 1-0 defeat to Belgium in Murcia in January but have two big friendlies lined up in the coming months as they prepare for kick-off in August’s qualifiers.

Bell’s charges face Wales — who find themselves in Pot 2 today — in Marbella on 28 February before making the trip to Italy on 9 April to gauge where they’re at against a Euro 2021 top-seeded team who are in World Cup preparation.

It’s all go already in what should be another big year for the national team. All eyes on Nyon this afternoon first though.

- Updated 9.15am

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Emma Duffy

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