The Republic of Ireland are less than three weeks away from one of the biggest matches in their recent history when they take on Denmark in Copenhagen for the first leg of their World Cup qualifier.
A positive result in the Danish capital would set them up nicely for a home fixture at a sold-out Aviva Stadium just three days later and already, the anticipation surrounding these fixtures has reached Euro 2016 levels.
Ireland haven’t qualified for a World Cup since their exploits in Japan & South Korea in 2002 which captured the imagination of a nation and it looked like that wait was to continue after disappointing results against Georgia and Serbia.
This is why eyebrows were raised when it was announced by the FAI that Martin O’Neill was to continue as Ireland manager for Euro 2020 qualification when it looked like Ireland would fail in their World Cup qualification ambitions.
BREAKING: Martin O'Neill has agreed a contract extension and will continue as the Republic of Ireland manager for the EURO 2020 campaign! 👏 pic.twitter.com/UAjiKoMGVh
— FAIreland ⚽️🇮🇪 (@FAIreland) October 5, 2017
However, they secured six points from their final two games to secure a playoff and the dream is still well and truly alive.
There remains doubt surrounding O’Neill’s and Roy Keane’s future though, according to a report in the Irish Independent.
Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane have yet to sign the new deal agreed with the FAI, prompting fears that the pair may yet decide to quit if Ireland fail to get past Denmark in the World Cup play-off next month. – Per Colin Young of the Irish Independent.
It is understood that the pair have not signed on the dotted line with regards to their contract extensions which raises concerns about their future after this campaign. O’Neill has agreed in principle to continue on for the Euro Nations and Euro 2020 campaigns but according to the report, Keane has yet to sit down with the FAI to thrash out details of his new contract.
It must be said though, that it took some time for the pair to confirm their respective futures after Euro 2016, so it may turn out to be the same case this time around.