Ireland draw Northern Ireland in Women's World Cup qualifiers
Ireland have drawn Northern Ireland in the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup qualifying group stage draw in Nyon on Tuesday as Colin Bell's side will look to become the first Irish women's team ever to qualify for the Women's World Cup.
Ireland have bee drawn in Group 3 for the qualifiers and will be joined by the Netherlands and Norway, as well as Slovakia, who they defeated 1-0 in a friendly at Tallaght Stadium earlier this month.
Bell's side are currently ranked 21st in the world, the third highest ranked team of their group behind Norway (11th) and the Netherlands (12th), with only the winner of each of the seven groups joining 2019 World Cup hosts France in the finals.
Meanwhile the four best runners-up from the group stages will meet in two consecutive rounds of a home and away play-offs series to determine the nine teams that will represent UEFA at the finals.
Ireland will kick-off their qualifiers in September but will first meet Iceland on June 7 and Scotland on July 7 in their pre-qualification warm-up games this summer.
The women's team previously finished in fourth place at this year's Cyprus Cup, Ireland's best ever finish at the tournament, with the Girls in Green topping Group C with wins over the Czech Republic and Wales before falling 2-0 in the third-fourth place play-off against North Korea.
Group 1: England*, Russia*, Wales, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kazakhstan
Group 2: Switzerland*, Scotland*, Poland, Belarus, Albania
Group 3: Norway*, Netherlands*, Republic of Ireland, Slovakia, Northern Ireland
Group 4: Sweden*, Denmark*, Ukraine, Hungary, Croatia
Group 5: Germany*, Iceland*, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Faroe Islands
Group 6: Italy*, Belgium*, Romania, Portugal*, Moldova
Group 7: Spain*, Austria*, Finland, Serbia, Israel
*Competing at UEFA Women's EURO 2017