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Could the Republic play the North and all you need to know about Euro 2016

Also, when does the draw take place and how does the 24-team format work.

Ireland fans celebrate after the UEFA Euro 2016 Qualifying Playoff second leg at the Aviva Stadium.
Ireland fans celebrate after the UEFA Euro 2016 Qualifying Playoff second leg at the Aviva Stadium.
Image: Niall Carson

Updated at 12.01

WHEN IS THE draw?

The draw takes place at the Palais des Congrès de la Porte Maillot in Paris on 12 December.

When do the matches take place?

The tournament is scheduled to be held in France between 10 June and 10 July.

How will the 24-team format work?

24 teams, pared down from 53 sides in qualifying, will be drawn into six groups of four.

Whereas with the previous 16-team tournament, a quarter-finals immediately followed the group stages, there will now be an extra  last-16 knockout round. In addition to the first and second place teams, the four-best third-place finishers will progress from their groups. The latter will be determined by the following criteria. 1. Highest number of points obtained. 2. Superior goal difference. 3. Goals scored. 4. Fair play conduct. 5. Uefa coefficient ranking.

Who else has qualified?

So far, 22 of the 24 teams are through. Hungary also qualified via the playoffs, after beating Norway, while Sweden and Ukraine could join them tonight, if they capitalise on first-leg victories over Denmark and Slovenia respectively. As well as the hosts (France) and holders (Spain), 18 teams qualified automatically via the group stages.

Who could Ireland be up against?

The hosts, France, are automatically top seeds in Group A. The remaining teams are seeded into four pots of five (Pot 1) and six (Pots 2, 3 and 4) teams. The holders are automatically placed into pot 1, while every other country are judged according to their Uefa coefficient. The sides with the highest coefficient get put in pot 1 and the second highest pot 2 etc.

The Republic of Ireland can only face Northern Ireland in the knockout stages, with both set to be in Pot 4. Ireland also definitely won’t be facing Iceland, Wales or Albania in the group stages, with those teams also being drawn into the same pot.

Martin O’Neill’s men could conceivably play any other team, with the current seedings as follows:

A1: France (top seeds)

Pot 1: Spain, Germany, England, Portugal, Belgium.

Pot 2: Italy, Russia, Switzerland, Austria, Croatia.

Pot 3: Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Hungary.

Pot 4: Ireland, Iceland, Wales, Albania, Northern Ireland.

*Czech Republic could be placed in Pot 2 or 3 depending on what teams qualify from the play-offs.

*Turkey could be placed in Pot 3 or 4 depending on what teams qualify from the play-offs.

Uefa have done the maths ahead of tonight’s games and worked out the various permutations…

Where are the games taking place?

10 venues have been chosen to host the tournament’s 51 games. The Stade de France in Saint-Denis, the Stade Vélodrome in Marseille, the Stade des Lumières in Lyon, the Stade Pierre-Mauroy in Lille, the Parc des Princes in Paris, Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux in Bordeaux, the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard in Saint-Étienne, the Allianz Riviera in Nice, the Stade Bollaert-Delelis in Lens and the Stadium Municipal in Toulouse.

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About the author:

Paul Fennessy

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