Friday 9 December 2016

The lowdown on our Group C opponents

Published 01/08/2011 | 05:00

Germany: World ranking: 3: World Cup history: Qualified 17 times (100pc record -- didn't enter 1930, banned in 1950) Best finish: Winners 1954, 1974, 1990 (as West Germany)

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Manager: Joachim Loew

Euro 2012 Situation

P W D L GF GA GD P

Germany 7 7 0 0 22 3 +19 21

Belgium 7 3 2 2 15 10 +5 11

Turkey 6 3 1 2 9 7 +2 10

Austria 6 2 1 3 10 10 0 7

Kaz'stan 6 1 0 5 2 15 -13 3

Az'baijan 6 1 0 5 5 -18 -13 3

Capital: Berlin

Distance from Dublin: 1,301km

Accessibility: Tend to move fixtures around, but there will be no issues for Ireland supporters with a host of attractive cities for the Germans to choose from, all of which can be reached with minimum fuss.

Difficulty: Probably the second hardest proposition after Spain, with a reserve of young talent that is maturing nicely, and has adapted its predecessors mentality by winning all seven of Euro 2012 qualifiers. At least they are worth a fortune in TV money.

sweden

World ranking: 19

World Cup history: Qualified 11 times, last appearance 2006

Best finish: Runners-up (1958)

Manager: Erik Hamrem

Euro 2012 Situation

P W D L GF GA GD P

Netherlands 6 6 0 0 21 5 +16 18

SWEDEN 6 5 0 1 20 6 +14 15

Hungary 7 4 0 3 18 13 +5 12

Moldova 6 2 0 4 7 9 -2 6

Finland 6 2 0 4 11 11 0 6

San Marino 7 0 0 7 0 33 -33 0

Capital: Stockholm

Distance from Dublin: 1,621km

Accessibility: Another handy jaunt for fans. Sweden have played in Malmo during the Euros but, either way, getting there shouldn't provide any logistical problems.

Difficulty: Efficient at crushing inferiors, but conceded four in Holland. Could yet make Euro 2012 as best runners-up. That would be a swansong for some key performers although strikers Zlatan Ibrahimovic (29) and Johan Elmander (30) should continue. A formidable opponent.

austria



World ranking: 66

World Cup history: Qualified 7 times, last appearance 1998.

Best finish: Third (1954)

Manager: Dietmar Constantini

Euro 2012 Situation

P W D L GF GA GD P

Germany 7 7 0 0 22 3 +19 21

Belgium 7 3 2 2 15 10 +5 11

Turkey 6 3 1 2 9 7 +2 10

Austria 6 2 1 3 10 10 0 7

Kaz'stan 6 1 0 5 2 15 -13 3

Azerb'jan 6 1 0 5 5 -18 -13 3

Capital: Vienna

Distance from Dublin: 1,667km

Accessibility: Directly serviced from Dublin and perfect location within Europe for those may want to make a longer trip of it.

Difficulty: They were a poor side at Euro 2008, and are trying to bring through younger players. Erratic in Euro campaign, with crazy 4-4 draw in Belgium followed by home loss to same opposition, and an agonising injury-time defeat to the Germans. There were better teams in Pot 4, but far easier options too.

Faroe Islands

World ranking: 112

World Cup history: Never qualified

Manager: Brian Kerr

Euro 2012 Situation

P W D L GF GA GD P

Italy 6 5 1 0 14 1 +13 16

Slovenia 7 3 2 2 9 4 +5 11

Serbia 6 2 2 2 8 9 -1 8

Estonia 7 2 1 4 7 11 -4 7

N Ireland 5 1 3 1 3 3 0 6

FAROE ISL 7 1 1 5 5 18 -13 4

Capital: Torshavn

Distance from Dublin: 973km

Accessibility: It's not too far away, and tour companies will be able to offer charters, but most supporters will be flying via Copenhagen. Man City fans hired a trawler to go there in 2008, but storms scuppered their plan.

Difficulty: On paper, nothing to be afraid of. But the Kerr factor is huge. He has made Faroes a trickier place to visit, knows Ireland better than any opponent, and will have a personal motivation that should rub onto his players. Ireland should take six points, but it isn't a foregone conclusion.

Kazakhstan

World ranking: 126

World Cup history: Never qualified

Manager: Miroslav Beranek

Euro 2012 Situation

P W D L GF GA GD P

Germany 7 7 0 0 22 3 +19 21

Belgium 7 3 2 2 15 10 +5 11

Turkey 6 3 1 2 9 7 +2 10

Austria 6 2 1 3 10 10 0 7

K'stan 6 1 0 5 2 15 -13 3

Azerb'jan 6 1 0 5 5 -18 -13 3

Capital: Astana

Distance from Dublin: 5,020km

Accessibility: A gruelling trip. Just ask St Patrick's Athletic. They flew via London on the way out and Dubai on the way back. The team will charter; supporters will have to use their ingenuity to find a cheap route to Eurasia.

Difficulty: There's a lot of money in the domestic league to recruit imports, but the international team has failed to really improve. Only three points in Euro 2012 campaign to date came from a home win over Azerbaijan. Germany, Belgium and Turkey all won there. Conditions the main enemy.

Irish Independent

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