World Cup 2014: Ireland welcomes Kazakhstan in opening qualifier
IRELAND open and close their World Cup 2014 qualifying campaign with games against lowly Kazakhstan.
But in between they face some very serious challenges on the road to the finals in Brazil.
Following a meeting in the German financial capital of Frankfurt, the FAI announced that agreement has been reached over their fixture schedule with opponents Germany, Austria, Sweden, Faroe Islands and Kazakhstan.
Giovanni Trapattoni's men begin their campaign with a trip east on September 7 and follow that by the visit of Germany to the Aviva Stadium on October 12 next year..
Ireland travel to Sweden in March of next year, hosting the return game in September 2012.
Said Trap: "This is a good fixture schedule for our team with a good balance to the matches.
"We finish the campaign at home and start with a single away match against Kazakhstan, which was important, given the long distances involved.
"I am also happy with the balance obtained in the double-headers and the timing of what we would expect to be some of the key matches in the group."
The Group C schedule:
7 September, 2012
Kazakhstan v Republic of Ireland
12 October, 2012
Republic of Ireland v Germany
16 October, 2012
Faroe Islands v Republic of Ireland
22 March, 2013
Sweden v Republic of Ireland
26 March, 2013
Republic of Ireland v Austria
7 June, 2013
Republic of Ireland v Faroe Islands
6 September, 2013
Republic of Ireland v Sweden
10 September, 2013
Austria v Republic of Ireland
11 October, 2013
Germany v Republic of Ireland
15 October, 2013
Republic of Ireland v Kazakhstan