Monday 26 September 2016

What happens next for Ireland?

Published 18/11/2015 | 02:30

Republic of Ireland's Robbie Brady (C) gets a hug from Seamus Coleman after the match
Republic of Ireland's Robbie Brady (C) gets a hug from Seamus Coleman after the match

The field for Euro 2016 was confirmed last night after Ukraine and Sweden booked their places in the first 24-team version of the tournament.

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It means we now know the four pots for the draw in Paris on Saturday, December 12, with the teams ranked on the basis of their UEFA co-efficient.

There will be six groups of four teams, with the top two from each going into the round of 16 along with the four best third-placed sides.

The seedings are as follows.

Pot 1: Germany, Spain, England, Portugal, Belgium, France

Pot 2: Italy, Russia, Switzerland, Austria, Croatia, Ukraine

Pot 3: Czech Republic, Sweden, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Hungary

Pot 4: Turkey, Ireland, Iceland, Wales, Albania, Northern Ireland

What are the venues?

There are 10 in total. Two in Paris - Parc des Princes and the Stade de France - and then Lyon, Lille, Lens, Bordeaux, St Etienne, Toulouse, Nice and Marseille.

When will Ireland know the game dates/locations?

They will know immediately after the draw on December 12 as UEFA have already devised a schedule for each group with team A1 v A2, A3 v A4 and so on. As part of the draw, the qualifiers will be allotted a slot in each group and that will correspond with a particular itinerary.

Crucially, there is no real geographical rhyme or reason to the process (just two of the 24 teams will play two of their matches in the same city) so fans could be travelling all over the country to see the Boys in Green.

For example, if Ireland were to end up as team E2 (the numbers do not correspond to seeding), their first group game would be in Lyon in the east, the second down south in Toulouse and the third in Lille, the northern-most venue.

Will the team be moving around?

They will pick a specific base for the build-up and competition itself and then travel to the host cities by air or by road on the day before each match. The FAI have already had a preliminary look at possible venues, with the onus on the competing associations to move quickly on a first come, first served basis.

Unlike Poland and Ukraine, France is well equipped and offers plenty of choice. It is expected that the final call will be left until after the draw as there are combinations weighted heavily towards the north or south of the country.

When do tickets go on sale?

They will be available through the UEFA ticket portal from Monday, December 14, with the price for group encounters starting at €25.

When do the finals kick off?

The first game, which definitely involves France, kicks off on June 10. All group games will be completed by June 22. For the optimists, the final is pencilled in for July 10.

Irish Independent

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