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FAI confident they can win right to stage Euro 2020 games

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Soccer star Robbie Keane

Soccer star Robbie Keane

UEFA President Michel Platini

UEFA President Michel Platini

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Soccer star Robbie Keane

THE FAI are optimistic they will receive good news in Switzerland today when they find out if their bid to host four games in Euro 2020 has been successful.

Dublin is one of the 19 cities in the running to stage fixtures in a tournament that will be spread out across 13 venues in a grand plan devised by UEFA president Michel Platini.

This morning in Geneva, the UEFA Executive Committee will vote on the respective bids, and they will then make the results known at midday.

The Irish team have reason to feel confident after the Aviva Stadium - which would host all four of the fixtures - received a positive review at the assessment phase.

Dublin also scored well in terms of transport and accommodation facilities after the successful staging of the 2011 Europa League final.

However, they are conscious that the regionalised aspect of the plan could make things complicated.

Last night, UEFA chiefs were meeting with a view to dividing the respective bids into six to eight geographical zones ahead of the vote.

England are favourites to land the semi-finals and final. Scotland and Wales are both targeting the same package as Ireland, which consists of three group matches and one knock-out encounter.

It means that one of the Celtic contenders is likely to miss out, with the Irish delegation confident that their government-backed bid will get across the line.

The first phase of voting will determine the final and semi-final, the second will figure out the four associations which will host a quarter-final and three group games and the third will hand out the packages for three group games and a round of 16 tie.

Ireland will be looking for white smoke from the third phase, although the UEFA blazers will use that round to pick one city from regional zones which did not succeed in the first two phases.

Therefore, the fourth and final phase will effectively function as a wildcard selection between the remaining locations that failed to make the cut during the initial three rounds. The FAI are conscious that the vagaries of the process mean that it could go down to the wire.

Minister of State for Tourism and Sport Michael Ring has accompanied the FAI delegation along with officials from Dublin City Council.

In addition to the four nations from this part of the world, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Denmark, Macedonia, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, Romania, Russia, Spain and Sweden are the other bids hoping to get the nod.

Meanwhile, Martin O’Neill’s Ireland have moved up four places to 62nd in the latest round of FIFA world rankings after the opening Euro 2016 win over Georgia.

Irish Independent