After many days of results going for and against the Republic of Ireland in their bid to become one of the seeded teams for the European Championship play-offs, it all comes down to tonight. The word permutations has been thrown around more than a Conor Murray pass in Cardiff and the mathematicians have been brought in to sort it out at times. Thankfully, things have started to sort themselves out and we’ll know our faith, in terms of seeding by 9:30 tonight. The final round of group stage qualifiers take place and Ireland’s seeding hopes rest in the hands of the likes Turkey, Croatia and Cyprus.
After Ireland’s loss to Poland, there was still a multitude of possibilities concerning the teams that would join us in the play-offs. After Monday’s results, that’s cut down significantly.
Ukraine, Sweden and Slovenia joined Ireland, Denmark and Hungary as third place finishers. Ukraine’s 1-0 loss at home to Spain now means it’s almost certain that Hungary will get automatic qualification as best third place finishers. So that means there’s three groups left to be decided tonight.
|Bosnia and Herzegovina||9||4||2||3||14||10||4||14|
Italy vs Norway is the big one here. A win for the Italians and Croatia beating Malta would see Norway (ranked below us) drop into third and Croatia (ranked above us) gain an automatic qualification spot.
So where does all that leave Ireland? As things stand the seedings would look like this:
Seeded: Ukraine (9), Croatia (13), Bosnia (14) and Sweden (18)
Unseeded: Denmark (20), Ireland (21), Turkey (25) and Slovenia (28)
That means we need two teams to drop out of the seedings and none to jump in (other than Ireland of course). In other words we need all of the following to happen.
Group A: We need Turkey and Iceland to draw.
Group B: Cyprus to beat Bosnia or Cyprus and Bosnia to draw and Israel to beat Belgium.
Group H: Italy to beat Norway and Croatia to beat Malta.