Nations League draw: What time is it on? Who can Ireland get?

On Thursday, Ireland will find out who they will face next June and September

Ahead of the Nations League draw in Nyon, Switzerland at 5pm on Thursday, here is all you need to know about the third iteration of Uefa's attempt to eradicate friendlies from the football calendar.

Where can I watch the draw live?

On Uefa's website.

Why does it matter more than usual?

Well, Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny and assistant Keith Andrews have been plotting to get promoted from League B in 2022/23.

But…

Yes, Kenny is out of contract next July but FAI chief executive Jonathan Hill said this week that a new deal will bring the current management up to the 2024 Euros in Germany. That's the "hope" anyway.

Can Ireland qualify for the Euros via the Nations League?

Kenny has spoken about a clear route into a playoff (the same way Ireland faced Slovakia in the Euro 2020 playoffs) but Uefa are murkier about this and will not yet confirmed the qualifying pathways for Euro 2024.

Still, Kenny’s Ireland going after promotion should raise the stakes?

It also keeps the pressure on the 50 year old Dubliner to turn this young squad into a team capable of competing with the very best in Europe.

The very best?

Ok, the second tier of the very best countries in Europe as Ireland are ranked 28th by Uefa.

What about the Fifa rankings?

Currently 47th, sandwiched between Ecuador and Saudi Arabia.

They could do with improving that. Right, who can Ireland face?

Firstly, Ireland cannot be drawn with fellow third seeds Israel, Romania and new pals Serbia. Pot One includes Ukraine, Sweden, Bosnia-Herzegovina, and Iceland while Pot Two has Finland, Norway, Scotland and Russia with the third opponent coming from Pot Four, which includes Slovenia, Montenegro, Albania and Armenia.

Pot 1: Ukraine, Sweden, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Iceland

Pot 2: Finland, Norway, Scotland, Russia

Pot 3: Israel, Romania, Serbia, Ireland

Pot 4: Slovenia, Montenegro, Albania and Armenia

Kenny thinks Ireland can beat the likes of Sweden and Norway?

Why not, sure we have Callum Robinson and Gavin Bazunu. Also, Jason Knight was only warming up against Luxembourg. No problem.

Where are all the heavyweights?

The top 16 European nations are in League A. Their pots are:

Pot 1: France, Spain, Italy, Belgium.

Pot 2: Portugal, Netherlands, Denmark, Germany.

Pot 3: England, Poland, Switzerland, Croatia.

Pot 4: Wales, Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary.

Can Ireland be promoted?

Only if Kenny delivers on his ambition of winning Ireland’s group in League, which would seal promotion to League A. However, a bottom place finish would see Ireland relegated to League C.

“We certainly have a plan in place,” Kenny said under severe pressure last September. “I have taken the decision, right or wrong, that we would build this squad to be really, really competitive to qualify for Germany 2024.”

The four matches in June mark the first real step in this process.

Dates for the diary please?

This gets a little confusing. For Ireland, matchdays one and two are between June 2nd-8th, matchday three and four are between June 8th and 14th with matchdays five and six between September 22nd and 27th. In league A, the semi-finals are the following June 14th-15th with the final on June 18th. In Leagues B, C and D there are no finals, just promotion and relegation.

Wait, so no international nights until June 2022?

The FAI are trying to secure two home friendlies in March to cash in on the public's burgeoning love for Chieo, Callum, Gav Bazunu and Andrew Omobamidele.

Any idea who’s coming to Dublin?

Ideally some heavy hitters preparing for the winter World Cup in Qatar. Hill, being an Englishman and former FA employee, must have some useful numbers in the rolodex so everyone can dust off those memory lane features about the riot in 1995. Failing that, Brazil and Egypt would do nicely.