A big match to begin with.
Ireland’s fixtures for the 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign have been confirmed.
Stephen Kenny’s side will begin with a huge match away to Serbia on March 24, with many viewing the Serbians as Ireland’s main rivals for second place.
That is followed by a home qualifier against Luxembourg on March 27 and a friendly with Qatar, who have been placed into the qualifying group for their own preparatory reasons, three days later.
Ireland then face group favourites Portugal away on September 1 before hosting Azerbaijan and Serbia on September 4 and 7 respectively.
October sees the Boys in Green travel to Azerbaijan before a second game against Qatar.
The qualifying campaign will be rounded out with a double-header in November with Portugal visiting Dublin on November 11 before a trip to Luxembourg three days later.
CONFIRMED | Ireland’s fixtures for 2021
March 24 | 🇷🇸 v 🇮🇪
March 27 | 🇮🇪 v 🇱🇺
March 30 | 🇮🇪 v 🇶🇦
September 1 | 🇵🇹 v 🇮🇪
September 4 | 🇮🇪 v 🇦🇿
September 7 | 🇮🇪 v 🇷🇸
October 9 | 🇦🇿 v 🇮🇪
October 12 | 🇶🇦 v 🇮🇪
November 11 | 🇮🇪 v 🇵🇹
November 14 | 🇱🇺 v 🇮🇪#COYBIG pic.twitter.com/rm5wNCYGrv
— FAIreland ⚽️🇮🇪 (@FAIreland) December 8, 2020
Speaking after Monday evening’s draw, Ireland boss Kenny described the group as ‘interesting’.
“It’s an interesting draw,” said Kenny.
“Portugal being European champions and Nations League holders, they have great pedigree. Serbia, on paper, are very strong and they haven’t qualified for the Euros.
“Luxembourg, checking their results, they are a vastly improved team, got 10 points in the Nations League and Azerbaijan are a bit of an unknown quantity, we will have to prepare accordingly. It’s interesting being a five team group rather than six.
“The concept of three games in a window is a new concept, initially with the Nations League and the playoff.”