The path to Euro 2020 is becoming ever clearer for Ireland.
The boys in green have qualified for the previous two editions of the competition, but have endured a torrid twelve months.
But now with Mick McCarthy back in the fold and the qualification group draw made this morning, Ireland know what needs to be done in order to compete in Europe’s greatest international competition.
Relief was widespread after the quirks of the amount of hosting countries meant that Ireland avoided the so-called group of death featuring former World Champions Germany and a resurgent Netherlands.
While the eventual Group D Ireland were then drawn into was much easier, being headed by Switzerland, it was tempered by the presence of current nemesis Denmark, who hammered Ireland to get into the 2018 World Cup and were drawn again in the UEFA Nations League.
Nonetheless, with only Georgia and Gibraltar left to contend with elsewhere, Ireland will fancy their chances of at least claiming a third place, which could yield a play-off spot.
Now it’s time to book flights as the time and date of each group game has been determined.
Our #EURO2020 qualifying fixtures confirmed!
Mar 23 Gibraltar 🇬🇮 (A) 17:00
Mar 26 Georgia 🇬🇪 (H) 19:45
Jun 7 Denmark 🇩🇰 (A) 19:45
Jun 10 Gibraltar 🇬🇮 (H) 19:45
Sep 5 Switzerland 🇨🇭 (H) 19:45
Oct 12 Georgia 🇬🇪 (A) 14:00
Oct 15 Switzerland 🇨🇭 (A) 19:45
Nov 18 Denmark 🇩🇰 (H) 19:45 pic.twitter.com/4zCg0f6lJf
— FAIreland ⚽️🇮🇪 (@FAIreland) December 2, 2018
March sees a soft opening to the group, with a visit to the Iberian peninsula on the Saturday evening of March 23 before hosting Georgia on Tuesday night.
An altogether tougher assignment lies ahead in June as the 7th sees Denmark host McCarthy’s side, although Ireland have held the Danes scoreless there in their last two visits.
It won’t be until next autumn that Ireland host both the Swiss and Denmark – starting with the Alpine residents on September 5, and a Denmark showdown that could prove crucial in the final fixture on November 18.