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Dublin: 10 °C Tuesday 11 December, 2018
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The best and worst-case scenarios for Ireland in the Euro 2020 draw

The Boys in Green will go into December’s draw in Dublin as third seeds.

The Ireland team line up before the Denmark game.
The Ireland team line up before the Denmark game.
Image: Ryan Byrne/INPHO

THE NATIONS LEAGUE group stages are complete, which means the seedings for next month’s Euro 2020 draw have been finalised.

Ahead of the event in Dublin on 2 December, here’s how the pots are looking.

Pot 1: France, Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland, Portugal, Italy, Spain, England, Croatia, Poland.

Pot 2: Germany, Iceland, Russia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Austria, Wales, Denmark, Ukraine, Czech Republic, Sweden.

Pot 3: Slovakia, Turkey, Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland, Israel, Finland, Norway, Serbia, Bulgaria, Scotland.

Pot 4: Montenegro, Albania, Greece, Hungary, Estonia, Cyprus, Slovenia, Romania, Lithuania, Georgia.

Pot 5: Macedonia, Belarus, Kosovo, Luxembourg, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Gibraltar, Faroe Islands.

Pot 6: Latvia, Liechtenstein, Andorra, San Marino, Malta.

24 Euros spots are up for grabs, with the 55 teams above set to compete for them.

So, if you are to take the seedings at face value, the worst possible draw for Ireland based on overall rankings would be as follows: France, Germany, Greece, Macedonia and Latvia.

By contrast, the best-case scenario would be as follows: Poland, Czech Republic, Georgia, Faroe Islands and San Marino.

It is important to note also that a maximum of two host nations can be drawn in the same group, so Ireland could not get both Spain and Germany in their group, for example.

But should the Irish side suffer the bad fortune of being paired in a group, along with France and Germany, and from which only two teams will qualify, there will at least be the consolation that if attempts to go through via the traditional route end in failure, they are highly likely to get a second bite of the cherry via a Nations League play-off for the complex reasons outlined here. In that case, however, Martin O’Neill’s side would still have the tricky task of having to navigate a semi-final and final (games that are played as one-off clashes rather than being two-legged affairs) in March 2020 in order to qualify.

Regardless of what happens though, the majority of Irish fans will not be overly optimistic ahead of the forthcoming matches following a dour 2018 campaign that saw them score just four goals in nine fixtures this year.

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About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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