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Dublin: 10 °C Wednesday 20 February, 2019

Ireland to face Bulgaria and New Zealand in Dublin as FAI confirm 2019 friendlies

Mick McCarthy’s men will face Bulgaria and New Zealand before important Euro 2020 qualifiers later this year.

Ireland were held to a 1-1 draw in Sofia in March 2009.
Ireland were held to a 1-1 draw in Sofia in March 2009.
Image: Donall Farmer/INPHO

IRELAND WILL WELCOME both Bulgaria and New Zealand to Dublin in the second half of 2019, with the FAI confirming two friendlies for the Aviva Stadium later this year.

The Boys in Green will face Bulgaria at Lansdowne Road on Tuesday 10 September, five days after taking on Switzerland in an important Euro 2020 qualifier at home.

New Zealand will face Ireland on Thursday 14 November, with Mick McCarthy’s men then taking on Denmark four days later in their final Group D qualifier for next summer’s European Championships.

Bulgaria are currently ranked 46th in the world and finished second in their 2018 Uefa Nations League group.

They last played Ireland in March 2009 under the tenure of Giovanni Trapattoni, a World Cup qualifier which ended 1-1 when a goal from Richard Dunne was cancelled out by a late Kevin Kilbane own goal in Sofia.

Ireland fans ahead of the game Both sides will play at the Aviva Stadium later this year. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

New Zealand, meanwhile, currently sit 122nd in the Fifa World Rankings — the side missing out on the 2018 World Cup in Russia — with November’s match the first time they will face Ireland.

The Football Association have also provided an update on the situation relating to Ireland’s Euro 2020 qualifier away to Gibraltar in just over two months’ time.

“The FAI are awaiting a final decision from Uefa on confirmation of the venue for Ireland’s Euro 2020 qualifier away to Gibraltar on Saturday, March 23,” a statement said.

“The Gibraltar FA had selected the Victoria Stadium before the Uefa deadline but are currently in discussions with Uefa to assess the suitability of the stadium to host Euro 2020 Qualifiers.

“Ireland supporters are advised to wait until Uefa officially confirms the venue for this fixture before amending any of their travel plans as the FAI expects a final decision by early next week.”

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Aaron Gallagher

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