Big boost for Ireland in Euro 2020 qualification battle as Denmark drop points in Georgia
Ireland have been handed a boost in their bid to qualify for Euro 2020 after group rivals Denmark were held by Georgia in Tbilisi.
Ireland currently lead Group D on 11 points, with Denmark having the opportunity to draw level with them ahead of the game against Georgia. However, Age Hareide's side couldn't break down their opponents and had to settle for a 0-0 draw.
That leaves Denmark on nine points, two behind Ireland. Switzerland are currently on eight points, although they have played one game less. Ireland and Denmark meet in the group finale in the Aviva Stadium on November 18, but before that they face Georgia in Tbilisi on October 12 and Switzerland away in October 15.
All matches between the top three sides, Ireland, Denmark and Switzerland, have so far ended in draws. Here is what happens if one or more teams finish equal on points.
- Higher number of points obtained in the matches played among the teams in question;
- Superior goal difference in matches played among the teams in question;
- Higher number of goals scored in the matches played among the teams in question;
- Higher number of goals scored away from home in the matches played among the teams in question;
- If, after having applied criteria 1 to 4, teams still have an equal ranking, criteria 1 to 4 are reapplied exclusively to the matches between the teams in question to determine their final rankings.[a] If this procedure does not lead to a decision, criteria 6 to 10 apply;
- Superior goal difference in all group matches;
- Higher number of goals scored in all group matches;
- Higher number of away goals scored in all group matches;
- Higher number of wins in all group matches;
- Higher number of away wins in all group matches;
- Fair play conduct in all group matches (1 point for a single yellow card, 3 points for a red card as a consequence of two yellow cards, 3 points for a direct red card, 4 points for a yellow card followed by a direct red card);
- Position in the UEFA Nations League overall ranking.
The Play-Off route
If Ireland finish first or second in the current Euro 2020 qualifying group, they will play at Euro 2020. If they don't finish first or second, here's what happens.
With 20 of the 24 teams qualifying for the 2020 through the group stages, and no out-and-out host nation, the final four places will be decided with a series of play-off matches.
However places in these play-off matches are awarded on how you did, not at the Euro 2020 qualifying, but in last year's Nations League.
The Republic of Ireland finished 23rd in those rankings, with Northern Ireland one place behind us, so what both Irish teams may need is as many as possible of the obvious top teams, France, Germany, Spain, England etc, to qualify directly so that a play-off place will tumble down.
Looking at the current standings in the groups, even with some teams still having six matches to play, Groups B and E of the Euro qualifiers are of special interest to Ireland. There, countries like Portugal, Serbia, Croatia and Wales are struggling to qualify.
The likelihood is that Ireland will be involved in the play-offs and will face an away semi-final, which will just be the one leg, against a higher ranked team with the venue for the final decided by a draw involving the participating teams.