Euro 2020 qualifier - Georgia v Ireland: Kick-off time, TV details and more

Mick McCarthy’s side have their Euro 2020 fate in their own hands as they Georgia

Shane Duffy with his Ireland teammates in training ahead of the Euro 2020 qualifier against Georgia. Photo: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

Shane Duffy with his Ireland teammates in training ahead of the Euro 2020 qualifier against Georgia. Photo: Ryan Byrne/Inpho

 

Just three games to go. With five played, three wins and two draws, Mick McCarthy’s Ireland are sitting pretty at the top of Group D and looking well placed to book their place at Euro 2020 next year.

But now comes a potentially defining four days. First up it’s the difficult task of Georgia in Tbilisi on Saturday before McCarthy and his squad fly to Geneva to meet Switzerland on Tuesday.

In four days’ time Ireland could be all but assured of a spot at Euro 2020 or we could all be getting the calculators out to see if a Nations League playoff is likely and who we’d face. But for now let’s perish the thought of that.

Here is everything you need to know about Saturday’s match.

What is it?

Ireland meet Georgia in Tbilisi in their Group D Euro 2020 qualifier.

When is it?

Kick-off at the Boris Paichadze Dinamo Arena is at 2pm Irish time on Saturday, October 12th.

How can I follow it?

The Irish Times liveblog will keep you up to date with everything going on, starting from 1.15pm for all of the build-up.

On television RTÉ 2 will have full live coverage, beginning at 1.45pm while Sky Sports Football will be on air from 1.30pm.

The story so far

Ireland’s campaign under Mick McCarthy has been very steady indeed so far with Shane Duffy and David McGoldrick both netting late equalisers with their heads away to Denmark and at home to Switerland to salvage two points and keep Ireland top of the group after wins at home and away to Gibraltar and at home to Georgia.

However, now the really tough part comes. Georgia have improved hugely over the last few years (as Ireland fans know only too well given how often we play them) and they will really fancy their chances of picking up points here having held Denmark to a 0-0 draw in the same venue last matchday – a game they could well have won themselves.

David McGoldrick scores the equaliser for Ireland against Switzerland. Photo: Morgan Treacy/Inpho
David McGoldrick scores the equaliser for Ireland against Switzerland. Photo: Morgan Treacy/Inpho

Vladimir Weiss’ side won’t qualify from this group having already lost at home to Switzerland and away to both Ireland and Denmark but they are already assured of a playoff place via the Nations League and could well end up reaching Euro 2020.

The permutations

Ireland currently top Group D with 11 points from five games with Denmark two behind after the same amount of games while Switzerland sit three adrift of Ireland but they have a game in hand.

The Swiss meet the Danes in Copenhagen at 5pm tomorrow so, if Ireland manage to come away from Tbilisi with all three points, they can sit back and relax, knowing that they’re very much in the box seat with two games to go.

A Denmark win over Switzerland would leave Ireland sitting very pretty indeed, two points ahead of the Danes and six ahead of the Swiss as they head to Geneva. However, as we all know, it can all go pear-shaped very quickly.

Denmark and Switzerland both still have to play Gibraltar so we can say it’s all but assured that they will pick up three points each there while Switzerland would also be expected to win at home to Georgia next month.

If teams are tied on points at the end of the campaign it will be determined by head-to-head before goal difference in matches between the teams. The determining factors are as follows:

- Higher number of points obtained in the matches played among the teams in question;

- Superior goal difference in matches played among the teams in question;

- Higher number of goals scored in the matches played among the teams in question;

- Higher number of goals scored away from home in the matches played among the teams in question;

- If, after having applied criteria 1 to 4, teams still have an equal ranking, criteria 1 to 4 are reapplied exclusively to the matches between the teams in question to determine their final rankings. If this procedure does not lead to a decision, criteria 6 to 10 apply;

- Superior goal difference in all group matches;

- Higher number of goals scored in all group matches;

- Higher number of away goals scored in all group matches;

- Higher number of wins in all group matches;

- Higher number of away wins in all group matches;

- Fair play conduct in all group matches (1 point for a single yellow card, 3 points for a red card as a consequence of two yellow cards, 3 points for a direct red card, 4 points for a yellow card followed by a direct red card);

- Position in the UEFA Nations League overall ranking.

And, while it’s not likely to happen, it is allowed to let your mind wander to the possibility of Ireland beating Georgia on Saturday and beating Switzerland on Tuesday to get to 17 points and then, readers, Mick McCarthy will have led Ireland to Euro 2020 .

If it all goes south over the next four days and on November 18th for the final group game at home to Denmark, then we could well be looking at a Nations League playoff as a last-chance saloon. Although Ireland finish bottom of their mini league in that tournament last year, it currently looks as if enough higher ranked teams will qualify automaticallty, allowing Ireland a chance at the playoff route which will be played over a one-off semi-final and final.

Team news

After his two goals for Brighton last weekend Aaron Connolly was called into the squad late on by Mick McCarthy and could feature at some stage but it is not expected that he will start.

Aaron Connolly scores twice for Brighton last weekend. Photo: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images
Aaron Connolly scores twice for Brighton last weekend. Photo: Bryn Lennon/Getty Images

Shane Duffy has returned to full fitness in what is a huge boost for the Irish defence and, with Richard Keogh out long term, he is likely to partner John Egan at centre back with Matt Doherty potentially starting at left back in place of the suspended Enda Stevens.

Ireland squad

Goalkeepers: Darren Randolph (Middlesbrough), Mark Travers (AFC Bournemouth), Kieran O’Hara (Burton Albion, on loan from Manchester United)

Defenders: Seamus Coleman (Everton), Matt Doherty (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Kevin Long (Burnley), John Egan (Sheffield United), Darragh Lenihan (Blackburn Rovers), Greg Cunningham (Blackburn Rovers), Enda Stevens (Sheffield United)

Midfielders: Alan Browne (Preston North End), Josh Cullen (Charlton Athletic, on loan from West Ham United), Glenn Whelan (Heart of Midlothian), Conor Hourihane (Aston Villa), James McClean (Stoke City), Ronan Curtis (Portsmouth), Jeff Hendrick (Burnley), Callum O’Dowda (Bristol City), Jack Byrne (Shamrock Rovers)

Forwards: James Collins (Luton Town), Sean Maguire (Preston North End), Callum Robinson (Sheffield United), Alan Judge (Ipswich Town), Scott Hogan (Stoke City, on loan from Aston Villa)

Past meetings

Despite this traditionally being a tricky fixture for Ireland - particularly in more recent times - it has never resulted in defeat with Ireland in fact winning nine of the 10 matches between the teams with just one draw two years ago at this same venue.

What’s the betting?

Georgia: 12/5. Draw: 15/8. Ireland: 13/10.

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