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Iceland Defeat Leaves Ireland U21s In Fantastic Position To Qualify For Euros

Iceland Defeat Leaves Ireland U21s In Fantastic Position To Qualify For Euros
By Gary Connaughton Updated
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All eyes are now set on Tallaght Stadium.

It has been a hugely positive Euro qualifying campaign for the Ireland U21 team, securing some very impressive results throughout the campaign. However, a defeat in the game against Italy last month left them in an uncertain position for the remainder of the group.

The top placed team in each group qualifies automatically for next summer's finals in Hungary and Slovenia, with that loss making topping the table a difficult task for Ireland.

Originally, it was planned that eight of the runner-ups would go into the play-offs. That has now been scrapped due to the coronavirus pandemic. Instead, the five best runner-ups will qualify automatically for the finals.

Ireland's hopes of securing one of those five spots was boosted this afternoon.

Italy secured a 2-1 victory over Iceland this afternoon thanks to a late strike from Tommaso Pobega. While that result leaves the Italians on the brink of topping the group, it does mean Ireland are in a commanding position to secure second place.

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A win over Iceland on Sunday would leave Ireland on 19 points, meaning a victory over Luxembourg in the fixture on November 18th would be enough to secure second place.

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It would also give Jim Crawford's side a big boost in terms of automatic qualification.

The Iceland game is the final fixture that is likely to count for the above table, with results against the sixth-placed nation in each group not counted.

That will be Luxembourg in Ireland's group, unless they can get a result against Italy or Ireland over the next week.

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A victory on Sunday would place Ireland on 16 points, crucially moving them above Poland who have played all of their eight games. They would not be able to finish ahead of Ireland.

Every one of Belgium, Romania, Portugal, and Scotland would have to win their remaining relevant fixtures for Ireland to be knocked out at this stage. That seems unlikely, with some of them yet to play multiple fixtures and/or the top teams in their groups.

In other words, two wins and we should qualify for a first ever U21 Euros.

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Summary

  • A win on Sunday against Iceland and against bottom side Luxembourg next week guarantees second spot for Ireland
  • This would give Ireland 16 points in the runner-up table
  • It would then take a crazy run of results in other groups to see Ireland finish outside the top five best second placed-sides.

SEE ALSO: Quiz: Name Ireland And England Starting Teams From Last They They Played

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