Euro 2020 qualifier - Switzerland v Ireland: Kick-off time, TV channels and more
McCarthy’s men head to Geneva knowing a win would secure their place at Euro 2020
Aaron Connolly shoots after coming off the bench for Ireland against Georgia. Photograph: Ryan Byrne/Inpho
Is everybody still awake? The Republic of Ireland’s goalless draw away to Georgia on Saturday isn’t one which will live long in the memory.
Mick McCarthy’s side were toothless and insipid in Tbilisi, as they laboured to a point on a frustrating afternoon, devoid of any real quality or spark.
Yet while many will see Saturday’s result as two points dropped, Ireland remain unbeaten in Euro 2020 qualification, and still sit at the top of Group D.
And with just two fixtures left to play, their European Championship fate remains firmly in their own hands.
A single victory against Switzerland on Tuesday night - or against Denmark in November - would guarantee Ireland their place at next summer’s footballing roadshow.
The end game approaches - and by 10pm on Tuesday night McCarthy’s side could be back in a major tournament. Here is everything you need to know.
What is it?
Ireland take on Switzerland in their penultimate Euro 2020 Group D qualifier.
When is it?
The match takes place on Tuesday, October 15th at Stade de Genève, in Geneva (kick-off 7.45pm Irish time).
How can I follow it?
The match is being broadcast on RTÉ 2 (coverage starts at 7pm), as well as on Sky Sports Mix (7pm) - which is Sky’s free to air channel. Sky Customers can find Sky Sports Mix on channel 407, and Virgin customers on channel 507.
And of course, you can follow the match via the Irish Times liveblog, which will be live from around 7.15pm.
The story so far
The Mick McCarthy era MKII got off to a fine start, with expected victories over Gibraltar home and away, and at home to Georgia, being complemented by precious points earned away to Denmark and at home to Switzerland. Late equalisers in those two fixtures - Shane Duffy in Copenhagen, David McGoldrick in Dublin - ensured Ireland stayed unbeaten and showed they are a side with serious resolve. However, Saturday’s stalemate in Tbilisi has taken the wind out of Irish sails somewhat and they now face two of their toughest assignments in the form of the Swiss and the Danes.
Gibraltar 0 Ireland 1, Saturday March 23rd
Ireland 1 Georgia 0, Tuesday March 26th
Denmark 1 Ireland 1, Friday June 7th
Ireland 2 Gibraltar 0, Monday June 10th
Ireland 1 Switzerland 1, Thursday September 5th
Georgia 0 Ireland 0, Saturday October 12th
Switzerland v Ireland, Tuesday October 15th
Ireland v Denmark, Monday November 18th
Switzerland meanwhile head into Tuesday’s game desperate for three points after their crucial defeat to Denmark in Copenhagen on Saturday evening. Yussuf Poulsen’s late winner leaves the Swiss playing catch up but they still have three games remaining, against Ireland, Gibraltar and Georgia. The Swiss are still bang in it.
Georgia 0 Switzerland 2, Saturday March 23rd
Switzerland 3 Denmark 3, Tuesday March 26th
Ireland 1 Switzerland 1, Thursday September 5th
Switzerland 4 Gibraltar 0, Sunday September 8th
Denmark 1 Switzerland 0, Saturday October 12th
Switzerland v Ireland, Tuesday October 15th
Switzerland v Georgia, Friday November 15th
Gibraltar v Switzerland, Monday November 18th
As mentioned, Ireland’s fate is still in their own hands, and they can guarantee their place at Euro 2020 with a win over either the Swiss or Denmark.
Ruaidhrí Croke has the full permutations:
“Currently Ireland and Denmark both sit on 12 points with two games to go while Switzerland are back on eight but they have three games to play.
“While a Denmark and Switzerland draw would have meant that two draws and a total of 14 points for Ireland could have been enough to qualify, that is now not the case.
“Denmark and Switzerland both still have to play Gibraltar, meaning you can add three points on to both of their totals, while Switzerland also have an extra game to play which is at home to Georgia – one they will certainly expect to win.
“If they win both of those and draw with Ireland they will reach 15 points.
“A win for Denmark against Gibraltar and a draw against Ireland means they move to 16 points and top the group while Ireland would be left in third place on 14.
“A draw on Tuesday against Switzerland and a Danish win against Gibraltar would mean that the final game in Dublin on November 18th would be make-or-break.
“Ireland would be on 13 points with Denmark on 15. However, Denmark would already have qualified as Ireland’s draw with Switzerland would have left the Swiss too far behind the Danes to catch them. Therefore Denmark wouldn’t need any result in Dublin and that could be more of a positive for Ireland.
“However, a loss to Switzerland on Tuesday wouldn’t actually change things too much. That would leave Ireland on 12 points heading into the Denmark game with the Danes on 15. Again, Denmark would only need a draw to make it through but a victory for Ireland would still book their place at Euro 2020 as the two teams would finish level on 15 points but Ireland would advance on head-to-head results against the Danes.
“A win against the Swiss would have the group done and dusted by Tuesday night as Ireland and Denmark (again, assuming they beat Gibraltar) would be on 15 points and out of reach of Switzerland who would be back on eight with only two games to go.
“So, to summarise, only one victory is needed. Unfortunately that victory has to come against one of the two highest ranked teams in the group.”
All eyes will be searching for one name in particular when the Ireland team is revealed just before 7pm on Tuesday night - Aaron Connolly. The 19-year-old Brighton forward was left on the bench until the 78th minute against Georgia before delivering an impressive cameo, and McCarthy hinted he could earn a first international start in Geneva.
Elsewhere Shane Duffy came through Saturday’s assignment unscathed after returning from injury and should resume at centre half, while McCarthy could look to freshen the midfield up after it huffed and puffed in Tbilisi - although that is probably wishful thinking.
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)
Xherdan Shaqiri is absent with a calf injury meaning the prodigious Breel Embolo, currently with Borussia Mönchengladbach, started as part of a front three against Denmark alongside Haris Seferovic and Admir Mehmedi.
Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka is likely to captain the side from midfield with Borrusia Dortmund’s exciting centre-half Manuel Akjani starting as part of a back three.
This will be the 18th meeting between Ireland and Switzerland, with the head to head record in the Republic’s favour - they’ve won eight, drawn four and lost five. In terms of world rankings there is a bit of a gulf between the sides at present - the Swiss are ranked 11th, Ireland 28th.
The Connolly conundrum
There is something grimly predictable about the emergence of an exciting teenage forward turning into a soap opera before he’s even laced up a pair of boots for the national side, but already McCarthy’s tentative attitude towards Brighton’s Connolly has become a major talking point.
Ken Early writes: “McCarthy’s attitude towards the 19-year old is becoming an intriguing subplot of these qualifiers. You might expect that any manager would be thrilled at the emergence of a fast and exciting attacker to freshen up his team, particularly when all recent Ireland managers have moaned about the lack of just such a player. Yet McCarthy’s tone when he talks about Connolly is notably cautious and ambivalent.
“He would not be the first manager to be irritated by the formation of a bandwagon around a crowd favourite. Remember how annoyed Giovanni Trapattoni got with people telling him to pick Wes Hoolahan.
“Managers hate this because it feels like a threat to their authority. Deciding who plays is their prerogative, and they guard it jealously. They don’t like feeling they’re being told what to do. If they pick the golden boy, maybe it looks like they’re caving to public pressure or playing to the gallery. And if they don’t pick him, everyone gets angry.”
Price of a pint
Ireland fans who travelled to Georgia - where a beer costs around €1 - are in for a rude awakening in Geneva, where it’s closer to €10. Three points will make it a price worth paying . . .
What’s the betting?
Switzerland 8-15 Draw 16-5 Ireland 13-2
We’re winning the Euros with Connolly up top!
We couldn’t beat Switzerland, but at least we’d beat New Zealand. . .