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No late moving of goalposts as Uefa confirm Slovakia as Ireland's play-off opponents

It was thought that the governing body might change their own rules to make it easier for Ireland to qualify for Euro 2020 as co-hosts, but that hasn’t happened.

A general view of the Henri Delaunay trophy.
A general view of the Henri Delaunay trophy.
Image: Tommy Dickson/INPHO

UEFA HAVE CONFIRMED Slovakia as Ireland’s opponents in the semi-final stage of the Nations League play-offs for a place at Euro 2020.

The game will be away from home on 26 March, and is likely to be staged in either Bratislava or Trnava. Slovakia must confirm the venue for the game by 20 December. 

The winners of the tie will progress to a final against either Bosnia or Northern Ireland on 31 March, with home advantage to be determined by tomorrow’s draw. 

Up to today, Uefa reserved the right to change the format and it had been thought that they might do so to make it easier for co-hosts to qualify for the tournament.

This would have involved promoting Ireland from path ‘B’ – in which they’ve drawn Slovakia – to path ‘A’, which would have led to a home semi-final with either Bulgaria or Israel. 

That, however, has not come to pass and Ireland must now travel to Slovakia as they bid to qualify for the championships via the backdoor. 

Tomorrow’s draw to confirm the pairings in the other play-off pathways, along with home advantage for the play-off finals, will take place in Nyon at 11am Irish time. 

Home advantage for the final play-off is the only issue to be resolved for Ireland at tomorrow’s draw, but the final composition of the play-offs in pathways ‘A’ and ‘C’ will be determined tomorrow.

The full details of the fixtures, along which outstanding issues will be resolved at tomorrow’s draw, are below. 

Uefa Nations League Play-Off semi-finals 

Path D 

Georgia v Belarus

North Macedonia v Kosovo 

Draw only to determine which semi-final winner has home advantage in the final 

Path C 

Scotland v Bulgaria/Israel/Hungary/Romania

Norway v Serbia 

Draw to determine Scotland’s opponents and which semi-final winner has home advantage in the final 

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Path B 

Bosnia-Herzegovina v Northern Ireland

Slovakia v Republic of Ireland 

Draw only to determine which semi-final winner has home advantage in the final 

Path A

Iceland v Bulgaria/Israel/Hungary/Romania

Bulgaria/Israel/Hungary/Romania v Bulgaria/Israel/Hungary/Romania

Draw will feature the sides not drawn to play Scotland in Path ‘C’. It will determine Iceland’s opponents, the pairing of the other semi-final and will also decide which semi-final winner has home advantage in the final. 

About the author:

Gavin Cooney

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