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The 4 teams Ireland could face in the Euro 2020 play-offs

Northern Ireland, Wales, Bosnia and Slovakia all may lie ahead.

Ireland could come up against Wales in the play-offs.
Ireland could come up against Wales in the play-offs.
Image: Bradley Collyer

IRELAND’S 1-1 DRAW with Denmark on Monday night confirmed they will finish third in the group, with the Danes and the Swiss qualifying automatically for Euro 2020. 

But the Boys in Green could yet qualify via the Nations League play-offs.

Exactly who Ireland play next is unconfirmed. The team’s pathway, however, will become clearer following the outcome of Tuesday night’s Group E clash between Wales and Hungary in Cardiff, with the Slovakia-Azerbaijan game in the same group also potentially significant.

Ireland are one of five teams from Nations League B not to have qualified already. The others are: Wales, Northern Ireland, Slovakia and Bosnia.

Of those teams, Ireland, Northern Ireland and Bosnia are all guaranteed a qualifying spot, while Wales and Slovakia may still qualify directly or at worst enter the play-offs.

A win for them on Tuesday would see Wales qualify, though a draw would open the way for Slovakia who will go through pending that outcome along with a victory for them over Azerbaijan. Hungary, meanwhile, will also qualify if they win regardless of what the Slovaks do.

All of which means Ireland are set to come up against either Wales, Bosnia or Slovakia in the semis. With all three teams having a higher ranking than the Irish side, it means the Boys in Green will have to travel away for their one-off semi-final.

Bosnia, meanwhile, as the best-ranked League B team look likely to face a home match against the worst-ranked side, Northern Ireland.

Mick McCarthy’s side could then potentially play a final with Northern Ireland or Bosnia should they get over the first obstacle.

So, to clarify, there are a couple of potential outcomes…

  • Wales beat Hungary; Ireland play Slovakia.
  • Wales draw with Hungary and Slovakia beat Azerbaijan to qualify; Ireland play Wales.
  • Wales lose to Hungary or Wales draw and Slovakia fail to beat Azerbaijan; Ireland could play Bosnia, Slovakia or Wales depending on how the draw pans out.

If Ireland get past the semi-final, Friday’s draw in Nyon will determine whether their prospective final is either home or away.

The semi-finals of the play-offs will be on 26 March, while the final is set for 31 March.

- Originally published at 01.36

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