A look at Ireland's record against their 2018 World Cup qualifying opponents

Moldova are the only side Ireland are yet to play and will be somewhat of an unknown quantity

Austria’s David Alaba caused the Republic of Ireland all sorts of problems during the the World Cup 2014 qualification match at the Ernst Happel Stadium. Photograph: Christian Hofer/Getty Images.

Austria’s David Alaba caused the Republic of Ireland all sorts of problems during the the World Cup 2014 qualification match at the Ernst Happel Stadium. Photograph: Christian Hofer/Getty Images.

 

WALES

World Ranking: 10.

Ireland’s record against them: P13 W5 D3 L5 F16 A13

The Welsh certainly lack the pedigree of most other top seeds with just one World Cup under their belts, way back in 1958 when they qualified after having been eliminated when reprieved because various sides had refused to play Israel.

Four years ago they were sixth seeds and in that campaign Serbia beat them by an aggregate score of 9-1 over their two games.

There’s no arguing with their more recent form, though, leading their European Championship qualification group by three points from a strong Belgium side who they recently beat 1-0. They’ve drawn two games, most notably at home to Bosnia and Herzegovina, but they are well on the way to France where the likes of Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey and Ashley Williams will give them a real shot of making the knock out stages.

AUSTRIA

World Ranking: 15.

Ireland’s record against them: P14 W2 D3 L9 F17 A36.

The Austrians did huge damage to Ireland’s hopes of making it to Brazil last summer with Bayern Munich’s David Alaba (inset) starring as they got late goals in both meetings to take four of a possible six points.

They did well in the group generally and have continued to improve with Marcel Koller’s men now leading their Euro 2016 qualification group by four points from Sweden.

Assuming they make it to France it will be the first time they’ve actually qualified for the tournament although they played as hosts once.

Ireland actually have a terrible record against them, having gone 52 years without a win.

SERBIA

World Ranking: 43

Ireland’s record against them: P3 W0 D2 L1 F2 A3

Having impressed in the years immediately after independence, the Serbs have been in meltdown over the last couple of years and currently lie last in their European qualification group with -2 points, the result of a points deduction after trouble at their game against Albania last October.

Of their four other games so far, they have lost three to the group’s main seeds, Portugal and Denmark, and could only manage a draw against Armenia.

Current coach Radovan Curcic appears to have his work cut out but they do have a fair bit of quality in the side with Chelsea’s Branislav Ivanoic and Nemanja Matic perhaps the biggest names. Their under-20s recently won the World Cup so there is fresh talent to come too.

MOLDOVA

World Ranking: 124

Ireland’s record against them: P0 W0 D0 L0 F0 A0

Having previously had spells as part of both Romania and the Soviet Union, the Moldovans have only been playing competitively in their own right since the early 1990s and Ireland have yet to meet them.

If their results over the last few years are anything to go by, however, some caution would be advised. In their last World Cup campaign, they drew with Poland at home and beat Montenegro 5-2 away. In the current European Championship qualifiers they contributed to the recent regime change in Moscow by drawing 1-1 there with Russia on what must have been a pretty happy day back in Chisinau – happier at least than the one when they lost at home to Liechtenstein.

Most of their players are with local clubs but a handful are based in the likes of Romania, Russia and Turkey.

GEORGIA

World Ranking:153.

Ireland’s record against them: P6 W6 D0 L0 F14 A4

Another relative newcomer to the international stage but Ireland know all about Georgia, having previously been drawn against them three times, including for the current European Championship campaign.

They started it with a genuine sense of optimism and felt they were in with a real shout of getting a result at home to Ireland but Aiden McGeady’s two goals put paid to their ambitions.

They have produced some decent players, though, and in previous campaigns they have sprung the odd surprise not least because, depending on the time of year, Tbilisi can be a tricky trip. Ireland have won all six encounters between the two sides, however, and will be hopeful of maintaining a run that should have been extended to seven before this campaign kicks off.

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