Wednesday 13 December 2017

Ireland's World Cup dreams receive huge boost following dramatic finish in Scotland

Scotland players celebrates as Martin Skrtel of Slovakia scores an own goal
Scotland players celebrates as Martin Skrtel of Slovakia scores an own goal
Ger Keville

Ger Keville

Ireland's World Cup hopes received a massive, dramatic boost as Scotland hit an 88th-minute winner against Slovakia.

Martin Skrtel's own goal in the dying stages at Hampden Park means that if Scotland fail to beat Slovenia away on Sunday, wins against Moldova and Wales will be enough for Ireland to secure a play-off spot.

Scotland's last-gasp win, coupled with England's similarly dramatic late victory at home to Slovenia, were the best possible results for Martin O'Neill's Ireland in Group F.

Scotland's group now looks the most likely for Ireland to reel in for that coveted top eight runners up spot.

One problem will be Slovenia's motivation going into the Scotland match as even if they win, they are more than likely going to finish in third place in the group as Slovakia face Malta and a win there will see them grab second place if Scotland fail to secure the three points.

The other group Ireland will be keeping a close eye on is Group H.

To finish above the second place team in that group, Bosnia must fail to beat Belgium and Greece need to drop points away to Cyrpus on Saturday.

Confused?

Prepare to have your head spinning even more.

Here is how we can make the play-offs with a draw in Wales!

This scenario comes into play if the Welsh do not win in Georgia tomorrow.

If Bosnia lose to Belgium and fail to beat Estonia (long shot) and Greece lose to Cyprus away, then a win against Moldova and a draw in Wales will secure a play-off spot for Martin O'Neill's Ireland.

Results against each groups' bottom side - in our case Moldova - are taken away from each team's final tally and eight runners up from the nine groups will progress to a play-off.

Here is the second place tables as it stands with the bottom side's results gone.

tableeee.JPG

Image: Wikipedia

Here are fixtures we need to keep an eye on.

GROUP H

FIXTURES

SAT, OCT 7

Bosnia v Belgium

Cyprus v Greece

TUES, OCT 10

Belgium v Cyprus

Estonia v Bosnia

Greece v Gibraltar

WHAT WE NEED

Bosnia take four points from last two games in Group H against Belgium and Estonia

Greece drop points in Cyprus in Group H

GROUP F:

FIXTURES

SUN, OCT 8

Slovenia v Scotland

WHAT WE NEED

A draw or a win for Slovenia

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