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Ireland's Euro 2020 play-off with Slovakia refixed for October

Uefa have also confirmed the Irish sides have seen their Champions League and Europa League qualifiers reduced to one-legged ties.

Stephen Kenny.
Stephen Kenny.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

UEFA TODAY ANNOUNCED their realigned calendar following the Covid-19 shutdown, with Stephen Kenny’s Republic of Ireland set to play their Euro 2020 play-off with Slovakia on Thursday, 8 October. 

If Ireland win that tie, the play-off final against either Bosnia or Northern Ireland will take place on Thursday, 12 November. 

These ties were initially supposed to take place in March. 

The Nations League fixtures remain unchanged, meaning Stephen Kenny’s first game in charge will be away to Bulgaria on 3 September, followed by a home tie with Finland on 6 September. 

Uefa offered no clarity today as to whether supporters will be allowed at those games. 

Each of these play-off games will be followed by two Uefa Nations League games, with games staged as triple-headers rather than double-headers. 

The governing body also confirmed all 12 host cities – including Dublin – will host games at the rescheduled Euro 2020. 

Elsewhere, in news affecting Dundalk, Shamrock Rovers, Bohemians, and Derry City, Uefa have confirmed they have changed the Champions League and Europa League qualifying ties to solely one-legged affairs. Home advantage will be determined by the draw. 

Dundalk will begin their Champion League campaign on 18 or 19 August, with the second round fixed for a week later, 25/26 August. The third round, should they get that far, is set for 15/16 September. 

The final found, known as the Champions League play-offs, will revert to being two-legged affairs, set for 22/23 and 29/30 September. 

Shamrock Rovers, Bohemians and Derry City will begin their Europa League campaign on 27 August. The second round will be played on 17 September with the third slated for 24 September. 

The final play-off round will remain a one-legged tie, taking place on 1 October. 

These ties have been shortened to facilitate starting next season’s Champions League on 20 October, with the Europa League beginning two days later. 

Women’s National League Champions Peamount United will begin their European campaign in a Champions League qualifying round mini-tournament, played between 7 and 13 October. The draw for the qualifying groups will take place in the first week of September.


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Uefa have also changed the format of the European U21 Championship, which will now be staged across two separate competitions. 

A new format was approved with the final tournament being split over two periods, with the original venues of Hungary and Slovenia still hosting both parts of the final tournament.

The qualification competition that is currently underway will finish in September, October and November 2020. The nine group winners and the five best runners-up will be joined by hosts Hungary and Slovenia for a group stage of four groups of four from 24 to 31 March 2021, with groups hosted by Hungary and by Slovenia.

The four group winners and the four runners-up will then qualify for the final tournament which will be played as a straight knock-out final eight (quarter-finals and semi-finals in Hungary and Slovenia and the final in Ljubljana) from 31 May to 6 June 2021.

Jim Crawford will manage Ireland for the remainder of the qualification campaign, who sit top of their group, three points clear of Italy, albeit having played two extra games. 

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Gavin Cooney

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