Saturday 20 January 2018

No seed of doubt in rooting for French

THE calculation of co-efficients is recommended as a cure for insomnia, but it could prove very interesting for Ireland tomorrow if they win against Armenia.

As it stands, Ireland are on course to be seeded if they make the play-offs with a victory.

Without getting bogged down in the technicalities, the teams who finish runners up in the group will be ranked on the basis of their UEFA co-efficient -- which is drawn from results in the last three qualifying campaigns. Points are awarded for wins, draws and goals scored, with a penalty for goals conceded.

With either Sweden or Denmark/Portugal set to take the automatic place for the best second-placed team, the only other likely runners up that are ranked ahead of Ireland in the co-efficient are Croatia.

Serbia would be ahead if they can win in Slovenia to take silver in their group, but that would still leave Ireland as the fourth-ranked play-off contenders.

However, if Ireland qualify with a draw against the Armenians, the calculators will be into overdrive because they could possibly be overtaken by the Turkey or the Czech Republic if they finish their respective campaigns with wins (told you it was complicated).

The only definite way they could fall into the unseeded category is if France lost at home to Bosnia and end up in the mix.

Cheering for France? Desperate times call for desperate measures.

Empty club stands in way of full house

Could we be set for a first full house for a football match at the Aviva? The FAI say the general admission tickets are almost sold out, but that doesn't extend to a sell-out as there is still the thorny issue of the premium level section.

With the FAI only shifting a couple of thousand of the 10,000 seats, they give the option to 'Vantage Club' holders to buy extra tickets for this game. Tickets reserved for '3' customers also go in that section, yet it is generally the emptiest part of the ground on matchday.

Supporters who get a freebie often end up there, and Giovanni Trapattoni is hoping they make some noise. "The supporters can be our 12th man," he said, before adding, bizarrely: "Every family can decide what they do."

"I can't sit there on the bench and say he's rubbish because he's not" -- Simon Cox reflects on how the purchase of Shane Long has restricted him to a spectator's role at West Brom.


15 Members of the Armenian squad who are under the age of 25.

Irish Independent

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