Ireland’s Nations League dates confirmed.
Dates and times have been confirmed for Ireland’s Uefa Nations League fixtures, with Stephen Kenny’s side set to open their campaign at home to Ukraine on June 4th.
On Thursday, Stephen Kenny’s side were placed into Group B1 alongside Ukraine, Scotland and Armenia in what appears, on paper, to be a challenging pool.
Ukraine first up for Ireland.
Ireland will open their campaign against Ukraine at the Aviva Stadium on Saturday June 4th, in a match that will kick off at 7.45pm.
This will be the beginning of a busy quadruple-header for Kenny’s men as they well then play Armenia in Yerevan on Tuesday June 7th (5pm), Scotland back in Dublin on Saturday June 11th (5pm), before travelling to Kiev for the return against Ukraine on Tuesday June 14th (5pm).
The group will be wrapped up with a trip to Scotland on Friday September 23rd (7.45pm) and a home encounter with Armenia on Monday September 26th (7.45pm).
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Stephen Kenny: “The objective is to win.”
Should Ireland win the group, they will be guaranteed a play-off spot for Euro 2024 and Kenny was optimistic about his team achieving this objective.
“Well, the objective of this team and the way we built this team is to qualify for Germany 2024,” the manger said after the draw was unveiled.
“And that’s a major objective. One of the things about the Nations League; that obviously winning the group or possibly finishing second even could give you a play-off for the Euros, and that’s motivation enough.”
Ukraine to provide stern Nations League test.
In what is a tough-looking group, Ukraine appear to be the biggest threat to Kenny achieving the aim of finishing top.
Under legendary striker Andriy Shevchenko, they reached the quarter-finals of Euro 2020 earlier this year, a stage at which they were humbled 4-0 by England in Rome.
They qualified for the knockout stages by virtue of finishing third in their group and memorably gave the Netherlands plenty of problems before eventually losing 3-2.
The meetings between Ireland and Ukraine will be the first between the nations, while Ireland have only played Armenia twice, beating them on both occasions during the Euro 2012 qualifying campaign.
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In contrast, Ireland have come up against Scotland plenty of times over the years, most recently in Euro 2016 qualifying, when a 1-0 defeat in Glasgow was followed up by a 1-1 draw in Dublin.
However, it was Martin O’Neill’s side who had the last laugh as slip-ups against Georgia and Poland saw Scotland eventually eliminated, before Ireland got through a play-off against Bosnia-Herzegovina to book their spot in France.