The Republic of Ireland avoided relegation from League B of the Uefa Nations League but the goalless draw with Bulgaria means they will be third seeds in next month’s World Cup qualifier draw.
Ireland find themselves in Pot 3 and could face a nightmare group when the draw takes place on December 7 in Zurich.
For the World Cup qualifying groups, there will be five groups of five teams and five groups of six teams, with the 10 group winners automatically qualifying for the finals in Qatar and play-offs required to determine the three other sides that will form Europe’s contingent at the 2022 World Cup.
The pots for December’s World Cup qualifier draw look like this.
Pot 1: Belgium, France, England, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Croatia, Denmark, Germany, Netherlands
Pot 2: Switzerland, Wales, Poland, Sweden, Austria, Ukraine, Serbia, Turkey, Slovakia, Romania
Pot 3: Russia, Hungary, Republic of Ireland, Czech Republic, Norway, Northern Ireland, Iceland, Scotland, Greece, Finland
Pot 4: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Slovenia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Albania, Bulgaria, Israel, Belarus, Georgia, Luxembourg
Pot 5: Armenia, Cyprus, Faroe Islands, Azerbaijan, Estonia, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Lithuania, Latvia, Andorra
Pot 6: Malta, Moldova, Liechtenstein, Gibraltar, San Marino
The likely worst case scenario for Ireland would be a group containing France, Switzerland, Bosnia and Armenia.
With much food for thought, Stephen Kenny will hope that his luck will turn around after this international break as his wait for a win continues.
Speaking after Wednesday’s game, the Ireland boss said: “It was very important that we weren’t relegated, that was very important. It’s not something to celebrate, not particularly.
“The big play-off game, a tough draw away to Slovakia, was the big game for us. We performed brilliantly in the game were beaten on penalties.
“We’ve used the Nations League to blood a lot of players, some by design and some because we’ve had an inordinate number of players ruled out for a variety of reasons.
“That will stand us well in the future and it will give us more options.”