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McCarthy hails draw as Nations League fixtures announced for Ireland's games against Wales, Finland and Bulgaria

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Ireland manager Mick McCarthy, centre, with FAI Interim Chief Executive Gary Owens, left, and FAI President Gerry McAnaney during the 2020/21 UEFA Nations League Draw at Beurs van Berlage Conference Centre in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Photo: UEFA via Sportsfile

Ireland manager Mick McCarthy, centre, with FAI Interim Chief Executive Gary Owens, left, and FAI President Gerry McAnaney during the 2020/21 UEFA Nations League Draw at Beurs van Berlage Conference Centre in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Photo: UEFA via Sportsfile

UEFA via Sportsfile

Ireland manager Mick McCarthy, centre, with FAI Interim Chief Executive Gary Owens, left, and FAI President Gerry McAnaney during the 2020/21 UEFA Nations League Draw at Beurs van Berlage Conference Centre in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Photo: UEFA via Sportsfile

Ireland will take on their familiar foes Wales, as well as Finland and Bulgaria after this evening's 2020 UEFA Nations League draw in Amsterdam.

Stephen Kenny, who is set to take over from Mick McCarthy as Ireland manager after this summer's Euro 2020 finals, will lead the Boys in Green to familiar ground in Cardiff, as well as trips to Helsinki and Sofia.

As yet, it remains unclear whether Ireland's away clash with Bulgaria will be played behind closed doors amid UEFA sanctions over racism during the recent Euro 2020 qualifier against England.

Speaking after the draw, McCarthy said: "That draw was as good as we could have got. If Stephen Kenny was watching back home he will be very happy.

"When I see the Russia, Serbia, Turkey, Hungary group, we could have been in there.

"Wales are the stand-out side and they had a great 2016 European Championships and they're already looking forward to this summer's finals.

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Rafael van der Vaart draws the Republic of Ireland during the UEFA Nations League draw at Beurs van Berlage Conference Centre, Amsterdam, Netherlands. Photo: Reuters/Yves Herman

Rafael van der Vaart draws the Republic of Ireland during the UEFA Nations League draw at Beurs van Berlage Conference Centre, Amsterdam, Netherlands. Photo: Reuters/Yves Herman

REUTERS

Rafael van der Vaart draws the Republic of Ireland during the UEFA Nations League draw at Beurs van Berlage Conference Centre, Amsterdam, Netherlands. Photo: Reuters/Yves Herman

"We've played Bulgaria and beaten them recently and that experience will be good for any of my players if they come up against them in the Nations League.

"I don't know a lot about Finland but I'm sure the players will look forward to the playing them in the group.

"The Nations League is a good tournament. I enjoyed the games the first time around and the competitive nature of them - it’s so much better than friendlies."

UEFA Nations League Group B4 fixtures:

Thursday September 3: Bulgaria v Ireland

Sunday September 6: Ireland v Finland

Saturday October 10: Ireland v Wales

Tuesday October 13: Finland v Ireland

Friday November 13: Wales v Ireland

Monday November 16: Ireland v Bulgaria


The full 55-country draw and match dates are below:

League A
Group 1 - Netherlands, Italy, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Poland
Group 2 - England, Belgium, Denmark, Iceland
Group 3 - Portugal, France, Sweden, Croatia
Group 4 - Switzerland, Spain, Ukraine, Germany

League B
Group 1 - Austria, Norway, Northern Ireland, Romania
Group 2 - Czech Republic, Scotland, Slovakia, Israel
Group 3 - Russia, Serbia, Turkey, Hungary
Group 4 - Wales, Finland, IRELAND, Bulgaria

League C
Group 1 - Montenegro, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Azerbaijan
Group 2 - Georgia, North Macedonia, Estonia, Armenia
Group 3 - Greece, Kosovo, Slovenia, Moldova
Group 4 - Albania, Belarus, Lithuania, Kazakhs

League D
Group 1 - Malta, Andorra, Latvia, Faroe Islands
Group 2 - Gibraltar, Liechtenstein, San Marino

2020/21 Nations League calendar

Matchday 1: September 3-5 2020
Matchday 2: September 6-8 2020
Matchday 3: October 8-10 2020
Matchday 4: October 11-13 2020
Matchday 5: November 12-14 2020
Matchday 6: November 15-17 2020
Finals: June 2/3 & 6 2021 (venue tbc)
Relegation play-offs: March 24/25 & 28/29 2022

Online Editors