Sunday 15 December 2019

When is it, how does it work and who could Ireland play - everything you need to know about Euro 2020 playoffs

Ireland will be involved in a playoff next March to see if they qualify for Euro 2020. (Photo by LORRAINE O'SULLIVAN/AFP via Getty Images)
Ireland will be involved in a playoff next March to see if they qualify for Euro 2020. (Photo by LORRAINE O'SULLIVAN/AFP via Getty Images)
Daniel McDonnell

Daniel McDonnell

After Ireland drew 1-1 with Denmark they have missed out on automatic qualification but the Boys in Green can still book a place at Euro 2020 through the playoff route.

Here is what the result means for Ireland:

- Ireland's qualification hopes now rest on a playoff series in March.

- The playoffs are decided by results in the UEFA Nations League last year. As Ireland's UEFA ranking placed them in League B, they were always likely to have the fallback of a playoff if they failed to book an automatic spot.

- Mick McCarthy's team will need to win two ties to make it to the finals.

- They will go into a four-team mini-tournament along with three other teams from League B of the UEFA Nations League that also finished outside the top two of their group.

- There will be two semi finals and a final, all of which will be settled on the night. Rankings will determine who has home advantage in the semi finals. This Friday's draw in Nyon will determine which semi-final winner will get to play at home in the final.

- Ireland's possible opponents are Bosnia, Wales, Slovakia and Northern Ireland.

- Due to their poor UEFA Nations League results, Ireland (23rd) and Northern Ireland (24th) are the two lowest-ranked sides and therefore cannot meet in the semi-finals. But a cross border showdown in the decider is possible.

- Wales and Slovakia are in Group E and the resolution of that group on Tuesday will clarify Ireland's playoff position.

- If Wales beat Hungary, they will qualify automatically for the finals at the expense of their visitors and Slovakia. The playoff semis would be Bosnia v Northern Ireland and Slovakia v Ireland

- If Wales and Hungary draw and Slovakia qualify via an expected win over Azerbaijan then the semis would be Bosnia v Northern Ireland and Wales v Ireland.

- If Hungary win away in Cardiff, they will go to the finals and condemn both Wales and Slovakia to the playoffs. In that event, a draw will have to take place to see which of Wales, Slovakia and Northern Ireland is bumped up to fill places in the League A playoff (the four places there have to be filled from lower divisions as Iceland were the only one of the top dozen not to qualify).

- Bosnia have to stay in League B as they won their Nations League group, while Ireland stay in League B as UEFA do not want two hosts to meet in the playoffs. Scotland are in League C and Romania are set to fill one of the League A spots

- That draw and all other business would be resolved in Nyon on Friday.

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