Friday 24 November 2017

Euro 2016 draw – Best and worst case scenario for Ireland

Republic of Ireland defender Seamus Coleman in action against England earlier this year. The two countries could be pitted together in next month's European Championships draw.
Republic of Ireland defender Seamus Coleman in action against England earlier this year. The two countries could be pitted together in next month's European Championships draw.
Declan Whooley

Declan Whooley

Martin O’Neill’s Ireland may be bottom seeds for next summer’s 2016 European Championships, with a bit of luck could find themselves in a manageable group in France.

Assistant manager Roy Keane was bullish following the play-off victory over Bosnia last night that the Boys in Green will not be heading to next summer’s tournament simply to “make up the numbers”, while goal scoring hero Jon Walters admitted the squad are looking to atone for the 2012 disaster in Poland and Ukraine.

With the draw to take place next month – and two play-offs yet to be decided – here is a look at the best and worst case scenario facing Ireland.

Ideal Draw (England, Croatia, Sweden, IRELAND)

The Ireland management team would be delighted with this particular group, though there would be no public statements admitting as much.

Ireland's striker Jonathan Walters (C) celebrates after scoring his team's first goal from a penalty
Ireland's striker Jonathan Walters (C) celebrates after scoring his team's first goal from a penalty
Jon Walters of Republic of Ireland celebrates after he scoring from the penalty spot during the Euro 2016 play-off second leg match between the Republic of Ireland and Bosnia-Herzegovina at Aviva Stadium
Jon Walters #14 of the Republic of Ireland celebrates after scoring the opening goal from the penalty spot during the UEFA EURO 2016 Qualifier play off, second leg match between Republic of Ireland and Bosnia and Herzegovina at the Aviva Stadium
Jon Walters (R)of the Republic of Ireland is congratulated by teammates after scoring his team's second goal during the UEFA EURO 2016 Qualifier play off, second leg match between Republic of Ireland and Bosnia and Herzegovina at the Aviva Stadium
Jon Walters of the Republic of Ireland controls the ball under pressure from Sead Kolasinac of Bosnia and Herzegovina during the UEFA EURO 2016 Qualifier play off, second leg match between Republic of Ireland and Bosnia and Herzegovina at the Aviva Stadium
Jon Walters #14 of the Republic of Ireland celebrates after scoring the opening goal from the penalty spot. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
Republic of Ireland's Jonathan Walters celebrates scoring their first goal Reuters / Cathal McNaughton
16 November 2015; Darren Randolph, Republic of Ireland. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Play-off, 2nd Leg, Republic of Ireland v Bosnia and Herzegovina. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Seb Daly / SPORTSFILE
16 November 2015; James McCarthy, Republic of Ireland, in action against Haris Medunjanin, Bosnia and Herzegovina. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Play-off, 2nd Leg, Republic of Ireland v Bosnia and Herzegovina. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Seb Daly / SPORTSFILE
16 November 2015; Edin Deko, Bosnia and Herzegovina, in action against Wes Hoolahan and Jeff Hendrick, Republic of Ireland. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Play-off, 2nd Leg, Republic of Ireland v Bosnia and Herzegovina. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Seb Daly / SPORTSFILE
16 November 2015; Miralem Pjanic, Bosnia and Herzegovina, in action against James McCarthy, Republic of Ireland. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Play-off, 2nd Leg, Republic of Ireland v Bosnia and Herzegovina. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Seb Daly / SPORTSFILE
16 November 2015; Ciaran Clark, 12, Republic of Ireland, makes a defensive headder under pressure from Bosnia and Herzegovina. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Play-off, 2nd Leg, Republic of Ireland v Bosnia and Herzegovina. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
16 November 2015; Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill celebrates after Jonathan Walters scored his side's first goal. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Play-off, 2nd Leg, Republic of Ireland v Bosnia and Herzegovina. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
i16 November 2015; Daryl Murphy, Republic of Ireland, in action against Edin Cocalic, Bosnia and Herzegovina. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Play-off, 2nd Leg, Republic of Ireland v Bosnia and Herzegovina. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
16 November 2015; Jonathan Walters, Republic of Ireland, in action against Sead Kolainac, Bosnia and Herzegovina. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Play-off, 2nd Leg, Republic of Ireland v Bosnia and Herzegovina. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
16 November 2015; Republic of Ireland manager Martin O'Neill. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Play-off, 2nd Leg, Republic of Ireland v Bosnia and Herzegovina. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE
16 November 2015; Supporters cheer as members of the Republic of Ireland team celebrate after Jonathan Walters scored their side's first goal from a penalty. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Play-off, 2nd Leg, Republic of Ireland v Bosnia and Herzegovina. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
16 November 2015; Jonathan Walters, 14, Republic of Ireland, celebrates after scoring his side's first goal from a penalty with team-mate Daryl Murphy. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Play-off, 2nd Leg, Republic of Ireland v Bosnia and Herzegovina. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
16 November 2015; Jonathan Walters, right, Republic of Ireland, celebrates after scoring his side's first goal from a penalty with team-mate Daryl Murphy. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Play-off, 2nd Leg, Republic of Ireland v Bosnia and Herzegovina. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Brendan Moran / SPORTSFILE
Republic of Ireland's Seamus Coleman and Bosnia and Herzegovina's Senad Lulic (rear) battle for the ball during the UEFA Euro 2016 Qualifying Playoff second leg at the Aviva Stadium
Republic of Ireland's Jeff Hendrick (right) and Bosnia and Herzegovina's Ognjen Vranjes (left) battle for the ball during the UEFA Euro 2016 Qualifying Playoff second leg at the Aviva Stadium
Republic of Ireland's Jonathan Walters (right) has a chance saved by Bosnia and Herzegovina goalkeeper Asmir Begovic (left) during the UEFA Euro 2016 Qualifying Playoff second leg at the Aviva Stadium
Republic of Ireland's Daryl Murphy and Bosnia & Herzegovina's Ervin Zukanovic Reuters / Cathal McNaughton Livepic
Republic of Ireland's Daryl Murphy (right) and Bosnia and Herzegovina's Emir Spahic (left) battle for the ball in the air during the UEFA Euro 2016 Qualifying Playoff second leg at the Aviva Stadium
General view as players and fans pause during a minutes silence in memory of the Paris attacks before the match Action Images via Reuters / Lee Smith
Seamus Coleman of the Republic of Ireland is tackled by Senad Lulic of Bosnia and Herzegovina during the UEFA EURO 2016 Qualifier play off, second leg match between Republic of Ireland and Bosnia and Herzegovina at the Aviva Stadium. (Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images)
Edin Deko, Bosnia and Herzegovina, in action against James McCarthy, Republic of Ireland. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Play-off, 2nd Leg, Republic of Ireland v Bosnia and Herzegovina. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Ramsey Cardy / SPORTSFILE
Republic of Ireland's Jonathan Walters scores their first goal with a penalty Action Images via Reuters / Lee Smith Livepic
A Republic of Ireland supporter ahead of the game. UEFA EURO 2016 Championship Qualifier, Play-off, 2nd Leg, Republic of Ireland v Bosnia and Herzegovina. Aviva Stadium, Lansdowne Road, Dublin. Picture credit: Paul Mohan / SPORTSFILE
Republic of Ireland's Jonathan Walters (right) and Bosnia and Herzegovina's Ognjen Vranjes (left) battle for the ball during the UEFA Euro 2016 Qualifying Playoff second leg at the Aviva Stadium
Republic of Ireland's Robert Brady (right) and Bosnia and Herzegovina's Edin Cocalic (left) battle for the ball during the UEFA Euro 2016 Qualifying Playoff second leg at the Aviva Stadium
Republic of Ireland's Wes Hoolahan during the UEFA Euro 2016 Qualifying Playoff second leg at the Aviva Stadium
Bosnia and Herzegovina goalkeeper Asmir Begovic saves an attempt on goal by Republic of Ireland's Daryl Murphy during the UEFA Euro 2016 Qualifying Playoff second leg at the Aviva Stadium
Bosnia and Herzegovina goalkeeper Asmir Begovic during the UEFA Euro 2016 Qualifying Playoff second leg at the Aviva Stadium
Republic of Ireland's Jeff Hendrick during the UEFA Euro 2016 Qualifying Playoff second leg at the Aviva Stadium
Republic of Ireland's Jeff Hendrick (right) and Bosnia and Herzegovina's Ognjen Vranjes (left) battle for the ball during the UEFA Euro 2016 Qualifying Playoff second leg at the Aviva Stadium
Republic of Ireland's Jeff Hendrick during the UEFA Euro 2016 Qualifying Playoff second leg at the Aviva Stadium
Republic of Ireland's Daryl Murphy during the UEFA Euro 2016 Qualifying Playoff second leg at the Aviva Stadium
Republic of Ireland fans Shane Peppard (centre) with his son Clayton, aged 9, (left) and nephew Sean, 12, from Clondalkin during the UEFA Euro 2016 Qualifying Playoff second leg between Republic of Ireland and Bosnia and Herzegovina at the Aviva Stadium. Brian Lawless/PA Wire.
Republic of Ireland's Richard Keogh and Ciaran Clark as Bosnia & Herzegovina's Haris Medunjanin looks dejected after missing a chance to score Reuters / Cathal McNaughton Livepic
Bosnia & Herzegovina's Haris Medunjanin looks dejected after missing a chance to score Reuters / Cathal McNaughton Livepic
Bosnia & Herzegovina's Haris Medunjanin looks dejected after missing a chance to score Reuters / Cathal McNaughton Livepic
Republic of Ireland's players during a minutes silence in memory of the Paris attacks before the match Reuters / Cathal McNaughton Livepic

France are by some distance the lowest ranked of the top seeds, but nobody will want the hosts with a vocal support in their group. Roy Hodgson’s England are the most attractive opponents in pot one and while they boast one or two individuals of note, will not strike fear into the heart of many teams next summer.

Croatia narrowly edged out Norway to qualify automatically for Euro 2016 and scraped through after winning only two of their final five games. The Croats easily brushed aside Ireland in Poland four years ago, but are not as formidable a side under Ante Cacic.

IvanPerisic_app.jpg
Ivan Perisic (L) of Croatia celebrates his goal during the EURO 2016 Group H Qualifier match between Italy and Croatia at Stadio Giuseppe Meazza in Milan

Sweden of course are yet to confirm their place at Euro 2016, but hold a 2-1 advantage over Denmark ahead of their return leg. Should they succeed, they will be among the teams in pot three.

Under Giovanni Trapattoni Ireland suffered a 2-1 home defeat during the 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign, though were unfortunate not to claim all three points in the goalless away fixture.

All Swedish hopes will rest on Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but the quality within the rest of the squad would have Ireland confident of a positive result.

Nightmare draw (Spain, Italy, Czech Republic, IRELAND)

We need little reminding on these shores of the ability of the reigning European champions. They may have relinquished their World crown to Germany, but for all the talk of bing a "fading force", they would provide an incredibly stern test of our credentials.

Torres.jpg
Fernando Torres of Spain scores the opening goal from the penalty spot during an international friendly match between Spain and Bolivia

The Italians, another reminder of our 2012 nightmare, lurk among the second seeds. They qualified from Group H unbeaten, finishing four points ahead of Croatia and conceded just seven goals along the way.

The Azzurri have lost just once under manager Antonio Conte.

PANews_P-a1f10a0f-0f29-4b27-aaa1-bf0bdbff27aa_I1.jpg
Matteo Darmian set to sign four-year contract with Manchester United

Ranked 17th in the world, the Czech Republic topped what was a competitive Group A, where the Netherland finished a lowly fourth and missed out on even a play-off position.

A 2-0 home reversal at the hands of Turkey was the only real blot on the copybook with four opening wins paving their way for automatic qualification.

With the exception of veterans Petr Cech and Tomas Rosicky, and highly rated wing-back Pavel Kaderabek, who joined Bundesliga club Hoffenheim last season, the bulk of the squad play in the domestic Czech league and could spring a few surprises in France.

Euro 2016 seedings ahead of the final two play-off games tonight and subject to change depending on results

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, Republic of Ireland, Iceland, Wales, Albania, Northern Ireland

* Ukraine and Sweden are yet to confirm their qualification and have their play-off second legs on Tuesday night.

Read more here:

Vincent Hogan: It's been awkward at times, but this honest group is heading for Euro 2016

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