Saturday 18 November 2017

World Cup permutations: Here is what needs to happen for Ireland to secure a play-off spot

Ger Keville

Ger Keville

Ireland face a mammoth task to secure a top-two spot in World Cup qualifying Group D following a winless 2017.

After taking just one point from last month's double header away to Georgia and home to Serbia, Martin O'Neill's men need to pick up six points from their final two Group D games against Moldova and Wales and then hope results elsewhere go their way.

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.

So as it stands, Ireland's group is in the worst position with Wales sitting on eight points after six games (They have played Moldova twice). They lie in ninth position in the runners up table with Bosnia in Group H above them on goal difference.

Ireland will finish on 19 points if the beat Moldova and Wales and taking away the six from Moldova, that will leave O'Neill's men with 13.

Here is how the runners-up table currently stands (minus results from bottom team):

stands.JPG

Should Ireland win their final two games and finish second, we will finish on 13 points in the runners up table. Our current goal difference, taking away the 3-1 win in Moldova, is +1.

Here is how our group looks:

DDDDDD.JPG

REMAINING GAMES

Oct 6

Ireland v Moldova

Austria v Serbia

Georgia v Wales

Oct 9

Wales v Ireland

Serbia v Georgia

Moldova v Austria

 

Realistically, the groups Ireland can reel in are F and H.

If we win our last two games, we need the following results.

GROUP H

FIXTURES

SAT, OCT 7

Bosnia v Belgium

Gibraltar v Estonia

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

THURSDAY, OCT 5

England v Slovenia

Malta v Lithuania

Scotland v Slovakia

SUN, OCT 8

Lithuania v England

Slovakia v Malta

Slovenia v Scotland

WHAT WE NEED

  • Slovakia lose to Scotland
  • Scotland draw with Slovenia OR Slovenia beat Scotland but fail to beat England

 

There are also possibilities of hauling in the second place finishers in groups A, C, E but for any of those scenarios to arise, we need the following:

GROUP A:

FIXTURES

SAT, OCT 7

Sweden v Luxembourg

Belarus v Holland

Bulgaria v France

TUES, OCT 10

France v Belarus

Luxembourg v Bulgaria

Holland v Sweden

WHAT WE NEED

Sweden v Luxembourg to finish in an away win, draw or one-goal home win. The likelyhood however is that Sweden will rack up a few goals here. If they fail to do so, we need Holland to beat Sweden by two goals.

GROUP C:

FIXTURES

THURS, OCT 5

Azerbaijan v Czech Republic

Northern Ireland v Germany

San Marino v Norway

SUN, OCT 8

Czech Republic v San Marino

Germany v Azerbaijan

Norway v Northern Ireland

WHAT WE NEED

  • Germany to beat Northern Ireland
  • Norway to beat Northern Ireland
  • Northern Ireland to lose their +6 goal difference advantage on Ireland in those two games

GROUP E:

FIXTURES

THURS, OCT 5

Armenia v Poland

Montenegro v Denmark

Romania v Kazakhstan

SUN, OCT 8

Denmark v Romania

Kazakhstan v Armenia

Poland v Montenegro

WHAT WE NEED:

  • Montenegro to beat Denmark
  • Poland to beat Montenegro by a few goals
  • Romania to beat or draw with Denmark away

You can start praying round about now.

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