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SOCIAL BOOKMARKS

State of play: One-goal win over Denmark may not be enough for Ireland

As it stands, the Republic of Ireland need to defeat Denmark by two clear goals to be absolutely certain of qualification to Euro 2020.

A single-goal win in their final group game (on Monday, November 18) would likely be enough to seal qualification among the top-two in Group D but doesn’t guarantee it. Should Switzerland draw with Georgia or (much less likely) Gibraltar in one of their remaining games, it would lead to a three-way tie for top-spot on 15 points — assuming Denmark dispatch Gibraltar before their trip to Dublin.

Ireland’s goal difference in matches between the three teams (-2) is worse than Switzerland and Denmark (both +1).

Should Switzerland win both games, as expected, and Ireland win, Mick McCarthy’s men would edge Denmark in the head-to-head based on results between the two teams.

Safe in our assumption that Gibraltar won’t produce a monumental shock, anything less than a win won’t be enough for Ireland. However, if Ireland finish outside the top-two, there is the likely reprieve of a play-off through the Nations League pathway.

Ireland finished 11th of 12 teams in League B of the Nations League, and 23rd overall. A four-way play-off, involving semi-finals and a final, for a place at Euro 2020 will take place between the top-four-ranked teams from League B yet to qualify for the Euros.

Ireland are not guaranteed to make that play-off, but the next best League B teams who miss out will be moved into League A’s play-off, as all but Iceland, and possibly Croatia, are more than likely to qualify through the front door.