Ireland will France, Netherlands, Greece and Gibraltar in their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign. This is arguably the worst outcome for Stephen Kenny’s men.
To reach Euro 2024, the Boys in Green must finish in the top two of the group to qualify automatically. If not, they will hope and pray that their League of Nations ranking will be enough to put them into the playoffs for the tournament.
The French, the world champions, were the highest-ranked side in the second pot of the draw. The Dutch were drawn from pot one. The Greeks were the highest-ranked side in pot four, while Gibraltar were the lowest-ranked side in pot five.
Speaking to Joe Molloy on Sunday, former Republic of Ireland manager Brian Kerr discussed the draw, the mentality Ireland need to have to prevail, and the potential players they could face.
‘It is a tough draw, no doubt about it.,’ said Kerr. ‘I have seen both teams frequently. I saw the Netherlands beat Belgium. They got to the Semi-Final in a group with Poland and Wales. They have plenty of good players, good players to pick from. In the attacking part of the pitch, they haven’t got the best players. They depend on Memphis Depay and Steven Bergwijn to score their goals.'
‘Bergwijn couldn’t get a regular game at Tottenham Hotspur and went back to the Netherlands. Depay has scored lots of international goals. They ended up playing Vincent Janson in the last match. He was at Spurs and couldn’t score a goal. He then went off around the world, he played in China for a while. When I saw them pick him, I thought they might have been a bit short, but around the pitch, they have excellent players .’
‘Players like Frenkie De Jong, Mathias De Ligt, Virgil Van Dijk and Nathan Aké. They have always had good players. We know that they have quality and style about them. Yet we have beaten them historically in the past.
‘I don’t think we can have an attitude of, oh, they will finish first and second. The attitude has to be, can we find a way to finish ahead of one of them?'
‘We are less likely to beat France. They had a poor Nations League. Denmark beat them twice, Croatia beat them and drew with them, and Austria got a draw with them. They barely survived relegation. They were poor in the group results-wise.
‘Yet in the World Cup qualifiers, they flew through the group of Ukraine, Bosnia and Kazakhstan. They have superb players. The front three are still Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappé and Oliver Giroud, but they still have lots of options. Players like Christopher Nkunku, who appears to be on his way to Chelsea.’
‘At the back they have Raphael Varane, Dayot Upamencano, William Saliba, Benjamin Pavard. They have young players coming into the picture, like Aurélien Tchouaméni and Eduardo Camavinga. Loads to pick from. They have loads of quality.’
Ireland will kick off their qualifying campaign on the 27th of March 2023 against the French in the Aviva Stadium.
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