Ireland to face Portugal in World Cup qualifying group

Stephen Kenny's side will also meet Serbia, Luxembourg and Azerbaijan in Group A

 

The Republic of Ireland will face Portugal and Serbia in qualifying Group A for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. This evening’s draw pitted Stephen Kenney’s side, who were among the third seeds, against top seeds Portugal and Serbia from Pot 2.

Luxembourg and Azerbaijan will complete the group. 

“It is an exciting group. Portugal are the European champions and the Nations League champions, and Serbia of course have great pedigree,” Kenny said after the draw.

“Luxembourg are a vastly improved team, and Azerbaijan. So it is an exciting group, and the fact that it is a five-team group means we’ve not got the congested three competitive games in the window in March, so it means back to the more traditional two.

“It’s an interesting group for us. To lose to Slovakia on penalties (in the Euro 2020 playoffs) was difficult for the players. They worked so hard and performed so well on the night.

“It’s a new campaign and I think we’ll have a lot of players back from March, and I think that is exciting. We have to do our utmost to try to qualify.”

World champions France were handed an apparently comfortable draw when they were placed with Ukraine, Finland, Bosnia and Kazakhstan in European Group D.

The French recently beat Ukraine 7-1 in a friendly although their opponents were weakened by Covid-19 related absences.

Old rivals England and Poland will face each other again as they were placed in Group I while Spain must get past Sweden, who qualified for the 2018 World Cup at the expense of Italy, in Group B.

Italy themselves must face Switzerland, Northern Ireland, Bulgaria and Lithuania in Group C.

The qualifiers will take place between March and November next year. Qualification play-offs will be played in March 2022.

In total, 13 European countries will feature at Qatar 2022. These will be the 10 group winners, plus three further countries via the play-offs. The play-offs will feature the 10 group runners-up, alongside the two sides ranked highest in the 2020-21 Nations League who have not already qualified as a group winner or secured a runner-up spot.

Those 12 teams will be split into three separate paths, with the winner of each booking a ticket to Qatar.

For the first time ever the World Cup will be played in November and December of 2022 to avoid the intense summer heat in the Middle East.

Group A

Portugal, Serbia, Republic of Ireland, Luxembourg, Azerbaijan

Group B

Spain, Sweden, Greece, Georgia, Kosovo

Group C

Italy, Switzerland, Northern Ireland, Bulgaria, Lithuania

Group D

France, Ukraine, Finland, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kazakhstan

Group E

Belgium, Wales, Czech Republic, Belarus, Estonia

Group F

Denmark, Austria, Scotland, Israel, Faroe Islands, Moldova

Group G

Netherlands, Turkey, Norway, Montenegro, Latvia, Gibraltar

Group H

Croatia, Slovakia, Russia, Slovenia, Cyprus, Malta

Group I

England, Poland, Hungary, Albania, Andorra, San Marino

Group J

Germany, Romania, Iceland, North Macedonia, Armenia, Liechtenstein

Matchday 1: March 24-25, 2021

Matchday 2: March 27-28, 2021

Matchday 3: March 30-31, 2021

Matchday 4: September 1-2, 2021

Matchday 5: September 4-5, 2021

Matchday 6: September 7-8, 2021

Matchday 7: October 8-9, 2021

Matchday 8: October 11-12, 2021

Matchday 9: November 11-13, 2021

Matchday 10: November 14-16, 2021

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
GO BACK
Error Image
The account details entered are not currently associated with an Irish Times subscription. Please subscribe to sign in to comment.
Comment Sign In

Forgot password?
The Irish Times Logo
Thank you
You should receive instructions for resetting your password. When you have reset your password, you can Sign In.
The Irish Times Logo
Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.
Screen Name Selection

Hello

Please choose a screen name. This name will appear beside any comments you post. Your screen name should follow the standards set out in our community standards.

The Irish Times Logo
Commenting on The Irish Times has changed. To comment you must now be an Irish Times subscriber.
SUBSCRIBE
Forgot Password
Please enter your email address so we can send you a link to reset your password.

Sign In

Your Comments
We reserve the right to remove any content at any time from this Community, including without limitation if it violates the Community Standards. We ask that you report content that you in good faith believe violates the above rules by clicking the Flag link next to the offending comment or by filling out this form. New comments are only accepted for 3 days from the date of publication.