Sunday 22 October 2017

Ireland set for Tuesday date if World Cup draw sets up Dublin decider

General view of Aviva Stadium Photo: Getty
General view of Aviva Stadium Photo: Getty
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

The Irish rugby international with South Africa on Saturday, November 11 will impact on the scheduling of the home leg of the World Cup play-offs.

Member associations that were in the picture had to make a submission to FIFA letting them know about potential issues with their home ground.

The pre-arranged rugby date at the Aviva provided a slight complication for the FAI, although the new 'Week of Football' concept, which sees international games spread out across every night from Thursday to Tuesday, ruled out any prospect of an awkward clash.

When the eight European teams learn their fate in Switzerland next Tuesday, the organisers will then thrash out the schedule based on any submissions, with TV companies having a big input.

Ireland are unseeded but - unlike in 2009 - they could still play the second leg at home. The window for the deciders is Sunday, November 12 to Tuesday, November 14 and the FAI have indicated they would have to play in Dublin on the Tuesday to allow the pitch recover from the rugby.

Turnaround

However, if Ireland have to play at home first there is no issue with the turnaround and the options would be Thursday, November 9 or Friday, November 10.

Last weekend, the stadium was turned around at short notice from the Moldova game on Friday for the Leinster-Munster encounter fewer than 24 hours later.

Meanwhile, the field for next summer's tournament has continued to take shape after a dramatic series of midweek games in South America and CONCACAF with the departure of the USA the main talking point. With 23 slots filled, the 32-team field will be completed by November 14.

 

Qualified for Russia 2018

Europe: Belgium, England, France, Germany, Iceland, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Serbia, Spain

South America: Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Uruguay

Asia: Iran, Japan, Saudi Arabia, South Korea

North, Central America and Caribbean: Costa Rica, Mexico, Panama

Africa: Egypt, Nigeria

STILL TO BE DECIDED

Africa

There are eight nations still in the hunt for the three remaining places.

Inter-confederation play-offs

Honduras (the fourth-placed Concacaf team) will play Australia, who saw off Syria in the Asian play-off, over two legs. The winners between Peru (fifth in South America) & Oceania play-off champs New Zealand also go through.

European play-offs

Switzerland, Italy, Croatia and Denmark are seeded; Ireland, Northern Ireland, Sweden and Greece are unseeded. Four teams will prevail.

Irish Independent

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