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Ireland draw Portugal and Serbia in World Cup qualifiers

The road to Qatar begins in March for Stephen Kenny’s Boys in Green.

Stephen Kenny's first full campaign will kick off in March.
Stephen Kenny's first full campaign will kick off in March.
Image: James Crombie/INPHO

IRELAND HAVE BEEN drawn with Portugal and Serbia in Fifa’s World Cup 2022 draw this evening. 

Stephen Kenny’s side will kick off their bid to make the tournament with a triple-header of games in March. 

The World Cup finals will take place in Qatar in November and December of 2022. 

Fourth seeds Luxembourg and bottom-ranked Azerbaijan round out the pool. 

Holders France were handed an awkward draw, meanwhile, with Ukraine and Bosnia and Herzegovina standing in their way, while England will face Poland in their group.

Gareth Southgate’s England, semi-finalists at the 2018 tournament in Russia, will also take on Hungary and Albania as well as two of the minnows of international football, Andorra and San Marino, in Group I.

France will also face Finland — who recently beat Les Bleus in a friendly in Paris — in Group D, with Kazakhstan completing the group that was drawn in a virtual ceremony at FIFA’s headquarters in Zurich due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

They are in a group of just five teams because they will be involved in the finals of the UEFA Nations League in Italy in October next year.

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The European qualifying competition to reach the finals begins next March, with a total of 13 countries from the continent going through.

Only the winners of each of the 10 groups will qualify automatically for the finals, which are to take place in November and December of 2022.

The 10 runners-up will go into play-offs alongside the two best Nations League group winners who miss out on qualifying via the traditional path.

Those play-offs will produce three more qualifiers in total, with Europe having 13 spots out of the 32 at the finals.

Germany, whose coach Joachim Loew has been under severe pressure after a run of poor recent results for the 2014 World Cup winners, will be expected to come through a group in which Romania and Iceland appear their main threats.

What do you make of the draw for Ireland? 


Poll Results:

Not very optimistic  (3143)
Let's get a playoff  (2927)
These are shite  (954)



More to follow 

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