Poland playing in Dublin set to give FAI a welcome boost

Poles and Sweden will play two Euro 2020 group games in Dublin next summer

Poland and Robert Lewandowski will play two Euro 2020 group games in Dublin. Photo: Leszek Szymanski/EPA

Poland and Robert Lewandowski will play two Euro 2020 group games in Dublin. Photo: Leszek Szymanski/EPA

 

Poland’s involvement in two of the three Euro2020 group games to be played in Dublin next summer is set to significantly add to interest levels when the latest tranche of tickets goes on sale this Wednesday at lunchtime. The inclusion of Robert Lewandowski and co in the group to be part-staged by the FAI was a boost for the association as it waits to see whether Mick McCarthy’s side qualifies through the playoffs in March and heads into what is likely to be another busy week here at home.

Around 20,000 tickets for the games to be staged at the Aviva stadium will go on sale this week to supporters of the participating nations with a much smaller number also to be made available in a general sale through Euro2020.com. The basis on which the roughly 7,000 seats likely to be made available for Poland’s two games at the stadium will be allocated will be set out by the Polish FA but the presence in Dublin of more than 30,000 people from the country is bound to add to interest levels.

The corresponding sale of tickets for the games of the team that comes through the playoffs – potentially Ireland – will happen after the winner is decided on March 31st but the fact that the Poles and Swedes will each play two games in Dublin (Spain will host all three of their group rivals in Bilbao) was welcomed over the weekend by FAI President Donal Conway.

Significant numbers

“I think the FAI will be very pleased with it,” he said. “If you look at it from a hosting city perspective, of course we would love to be there but (it’s good) with the Polish population in the Republic of Ireland and the Swedes will travel to Dublin in very significant numbers.”

From McCarthy’s perspective, the fact that France and Portugal will have been avoided, in the event that his side does get to participate, will be viewed as a good thing and the fact that both have been drawn in Germany’s group means that the Round of 16 game to be staged in Dublin is now nicely teed up to be England against one of three of the semi-finalists from the 2016 tournament.

In the event that Ireland do successfully come through their game in Slovakia on March 26th then a playoff final in either Northern Ireland or Bosnia Herzegovina five days later, they will face Poland on June 15th then Sweden on the 19th, both in Dublin, with a final group game to come the following week against Spain in Bilbao on the 24th. At this stage, however, the only confirmed lineup for an Aviva stadium game is Poland against Sweden, also on the 24th.

Reacting to the draw, McCarthy said: “I was looking at it and it really was: ‘this is what you could be doing, this is what you might be guaranteed of doing.’ But we’re not yet, we’ve got to play Slovakia away.

“If we win that, we then play the winners of Northern Ireland and Bosnia, which will be interesting.

“They [the other three teams in the group] will have two friendlies in March when we play the play-offs. So we’ll have somebody looking at them and we’ll have all the analysis that we can take just in case we do get through, so that then we can analyse the teams that we are going to be playing.

“But it really is a bizarre situation that, between now and March 26th ,we have no games, no training time with the players, nothing.”

Conway, meanwhile, faces a hectic week out in Abbotstown where it is expected a board meeting early in the week will finalise a date for the association’s reconvened AGM. The key element of the meeting’s second part will be the presentation of accounts which have to be sent to clubs, leagues and other affiliates 21 days before delegates gather.

With that now appearing to be likely to happen towards the end of the week, the AGM reconvening this side of Christmas now also looks a long shot but there is a determination that it should happen before the end of the year and there is talk of December 28th as a possible date.

Public funding

Interim CEO John Foley is expected to start work this week and the hope is that he can progress the issue of the restoration of public funding. The decision last week by Sport Ireland to refer the Kosi report to the Garda was clearly not seen as being helpful on that front but with the report understood to have cleared the organisation of the misuse of government money previously handed over, there has been a softening of attitudes on the political front with suggestions that particular grants might be allocated if a suitable mechanism, possibly through the use of a third party, can be found.

There is widespread frustration, meanwhile, that the delay in publishing the Kosi report seems likely to hold up the appointment of the independent directors who had been due to join the association’s board over the coming weeks and the hope will be that that process can still be completed ahead of the AGM.

Euro 2020 schedule

Group stages

Friday, June 12

GAME 1: Group A - Turkey v Italy, Rome (KO: 8pm)

Saturday, June 13

GAME 2: Group A - Wales v Switzerland, Baku (KO: 2pm)

GAME 3: Group B - Denmark v Finland, Copenhagen (KO: 5pm)

GAME 4: Group B - Belgium v Russia, St Petersburg (KO: 8pm)

Sunday, June 14

GAME 7: Group D - England v Croatia, London (KO: 2pm)

GAME 6: Group C - Austria v Playoff winner from Path D* (Georgia/Belarus/North Macedonia/Kosovo), Bucharest (KO: 5pm)

GAME 5: Group C - Holland v Ukraine, Amsterdam (KO: 8pm)

Monday, June 15

GAME 8: Group D - Playoff winner from Path C (Scotland/Israel/Norway/Serbia) v Czech Republic, Glasgow (KO: 2pm)

GAME 10: Group E - Poland v Playoff winner from Path B (Ireland/Slovakia/Bosnia and Herzegovina/Northern Ireland), Dublin (KO: 5pm)

GAME 9: Group E - Spain v Sweden, Bilbao (KO: 8pm)

Tuesday, June 16

GAME 11: Group F - Playoff winner from Path A* (Iceland/Romania/Bulgaria/Hungary) v Portugal, Budapest (KO: 5pm)

GAME 12: Group F - France v Germany, Munich (KO: 8pm)

Wednesday, June 17

GAME 15: Group B - Finland v Russia, St Petersburg (KO: 2pm)

GAME 13: Group A - Turkey v Wales, Baku (KO: 5pm)

GAME 14: Group A - Italy v Switzerland, Rome (KO: 8pm)

Thursday, June 18

GAME 18: Group C - Ukraine v Playoff winner from Path D* (Georgia/Belarus/North Macedonia/Kosovo), Bucharest (KO: 2pm)

GAME 16: Group B - Denmark v Belgium, Copenhagen (KO: 5pm)

GAME 17: Group C - Holland v Austria, Amsterdam (KO: 8pm)

Friday, June 19

GAME 21: Group E - Sweden v Playoff winner from Path B (Ireland/Slovakia/Bosnia and Herzegovina/Northern Ireland), Dublin (KO: 2pm)

GAME 19: Group D - Croatia v Czech Republic, Glasgow (KO: 5pm)

GAME 20: Group D - England v Playoff winner from Path C (Scotland/Israel/Norway/Serbia), London (KO: 8pm)

Saturday, June 20

GAME 23: Group F - Playoff winner from Path A* (Iceland/Romania/Bulgaria/Hungary) v France, Budapest (KO: 2pm)

GAME 24: Group F - Portugal v Germany, Munich (KO: 5pm)

GAME 22: Group E - Spain v Poland, Bilbao (KO: 8pm)

Sunday, June 21

GAME 25: Group A - Switzerland v Turkey, Baku (KO: 5pm)

GAME 26: Group A - Italy v Wales, Rome (KO: 5pm)

Monday, June 22

GAME 29: Group C - Playoff winner from Path D* (Georgia/Belarus/North Macedonia/Kosovo) v Holland, Amsterdam (KO: 5pm)

GAME 30: Group C - Ukraine v Austria, Bucharest (KO: 5pm)

GAME 27: Group B - Russia v Denmark, Copenhagen (KO: 8pm)

GAME 28: Group B - Finland v Belgium, St Petersburg (KO: 8pm)

Tuesday, June 23

GAME 31: Group D - Croatia v Playoff winner from Path C (Scotland/Israel/Norway/Serbia), Glasgow (KO: 8pm)

GAME 32: Group D - Czech Republic v England, London (KO: 8pm)

Wednesday, June 24

GAME 33: Group E - Playoff winner from Path B (Ireland/Slovakia/Bosnia and Herzegovina/Northern Ireland) v Spain, Bilbao (KO: 5pm)

GAME 34: Group E - Sweden v Poland, Dublin (KO: 5pm)

GAME 35: Group F - Portugal v France, Budapest (KO: 8pm)

GAME 36: Group F - Germany v Playoff winner from Path A* (Iceland/Romania/Bulgaria/Hungary), Munich (KO: 8pm)

*If Romania win playoff path A, they will be moved to Group C and the winners of playoff path D will move to Group F.

Round of 16

Saturday, June 27

GAME 38: Runner-up Group A v Runner-up Group B, Amsterdam (KO: 5pm)

GAME 37: Winner Group A v Runner-up Group C, London (KO: 8pm)

Sunday, June 28

GAME 40: Winner Group C v Third Place Group D/E/F, Budapest (KO: 5pm)

GAME 39: Winner Group B v Third Place Group A/D/E/F, Bilbao (KO: 8pm)

Monday, June 29

GAME 42: Runner-up Group D v Runner-up Group E, Copenhagen (KO: 5pm)

GAME 41: Winner Group F v Third Place A/B/C, Bucharest (KO: 8pm)

Tuesday, June 30

GAME 44: Winner Group D v Runner-up Group F, Dublin (KO: 5pm)

GAME 43: Winner Group E v Third Place A/B/C/D, Glasgow (KO: 8pm)

Quarter-finals

Friday, July 3

GAME 45: Winner Game 41 v Winner Game 42, St Petersburg (KO: 5pm)

GAME 46: Winner Game 39 v Winner Game 37, Munich (KO: 8pm)

Saturday, July 4

GAME 47: Winner Game 40 v Winner Game 38, Baku (KO: 5pm)

GAME 48: Winner Game 43 v Winner Game 44, Rome (KO: 8pm)

Semi-finals

Tuesday, July 7

GAME 49: Winner Game 45 v Winner Game 46, London (KO: 8pm)

Wednesday, July 8

GAME 50: Winner Game 48 v Winner Game 47, London (KO: 8pm)

Final

Sunday, July 12

GAME 51: Winner Game 49 v Winner Game 50, 8pm, London (KO: 8pm)

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