• Home
  • /
  • Football
  • /
  • Explained: The Play-Off Route That Could Get Ireland To EURO 2024

Explained: The Play-Off Route That Could Get Ireland To EURO 2024

Explained: The Play-Off Route That Could Get Ireland To EURO 2024
By Eoin Harrington Updated
Share this article

With one win from five games at the outset of the qualifying campaign, it looks as though Ireland's dreams of qualifying automatically for EURO 2024 are all but done.

A 3-0 victory over Gibraltar in June remains the sole triumph thus far in the group and, though it would have required something of a miracle to qualify ahead of both France and the Netherlands anyway, the loss in Athens in that same June international window sticks out as a major disappointment of this campaign.

Despite the difficulty of the group, it seems as though four losses from five will not be enough to keep Stephen Kenny in the Ireland job, with reports on Tuesday suggesting the FAI will approach former international Lee Carsley to take over.

Barring a miraculous run of events in the final two windows of this qualifying group, Ireland will not qualify automatically for EURO 2024 - but there is still a slim glimmer of hope that the team could still reach the finals in Germany next summer, through the Nations League play-off route.

This article explains the exact manner in which those play-offs will work - and how Ireland's chances are looking.

READ HERE: Eamon Dunphy Hammers Media For 'Vicious' Criticism Of Stephen Kenny

Ireland EURO 2024: The potential play-off route to Germany

How it stands currently

Taking into account the teams that are currently qualifying automatically through the groups, and applying the above criteria, the three Nations League play-off routes as it stands would be:

  • League A: Italy, Poland, Wales, Estonia
  • League B: Israel, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Finland, Iceland
  • League C: Georgia, Greece, Kazakhstan, Luxembourg

So, as it stands, Ireland would not qualify automatically for EURO 2024, nor would they seal a place in the play-offs.

Below are the final standings of all four leagues of the 2022-23 UEFA Nations League.

The final standings of the 2022-23 UEFA Nations League ("W" denotes a team which won their group, and are guaranteed of a play-off place if they do not qualify automatically)

What Ireland need to happen to reach the EURO 2024 play-offs

19 June 2023; Mikey Johnston of Republic of Ireland celebrates after scoring his side's first goal during the UEFA EURO 2024 Championship qualifying group B match between Republic of Ireland and Gibraltar at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

Essentially, Ireland need as many teams as possible who are currently ahead of them in the Nations League rankings to qualify automatically for EURO 2024 in Germany through the qualifying groups. As it stands, only 16 teams ahead of them are qualifying automatically, leaving Ireland outside of the play-off spots.

  • If Ireland want to enter the Nations League B play-off route, they need six teams teams ahead of them in Nations League B to qualify automatically. Of the nine teams ahead of them in League B, Serbia, Scotland, Ukraine, and Slovenia are currently qualifying automatically.
  • The next chance for Ireland would come in the Nations League A play-off route. If each team in League A qualifies automatically, there will be four additional play-off spots up for grabs. One of these would go to the highest-ranked team in League D (Estonia), with the other three going to the three highest-ranked sides in League B not already (a) qualified automatically, or (b) already in the League B play-offs. Currently, Ireland would fall into this category and secure a play-off place - if every team in League A were to qualify automatically.
  • In simple terms: Ireland need the vast majority of the teams ahead of them to qualify automatically for the tournament, and for as few upsets as possible to occur in the qualifying groups. If at least 19 teams ahead of Ireland in the Nations League standings qualify automatically, they are assured of a play-off place.

We Global Football have calculated the probability of each team in Europe qualifying for EURO 2024. Ireland's chances of reaching the play-offs have decreased by almost half since the June international window, off the back of successive defeats to France and the Netherlands.

After the June qualifiers, Ireland's chances of reaching a play-off stood at 20.22% - now they stand at a mere 10.76%.



The same account has consistently predicted that the cutoff line for Group B playoffs will fall right before Ireland.

READ HERE: 'Bitter' O'Neill Says Stephen Kenny Was Appointed By Irish Media

The teams Ireland need to pick up the pace

The teams ahead of Ireland who are currently not qualifying automatically are Poland, Wales, Israel, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Finland, Ukraine, Iceland, and Norway.

The teams Ireland seriously need to pick up the pace are Wales and Israel. The most achievable scenario which currently sees Ireland secure a play-off spot for EURO 2024 currently depends on these two teams.

If all other groups remain the same, and Wales and Israel can qualify automatically, Ireland will secure a play-off place through route A for EURO 2024.

Wales are currently behind Turkey in their qualifying group, while Israel are behind Romania - both of which are bad scenarios for Ireland.

In qualifying group D, if Wales can finish ahead of Turkey, then Ireland will be within touching distance of a qualifiyng play-off. Turkey must still play Croatia away, and travel to Cardiff on the final day, so their three-point margin ahead of the Welsh looks ever so slightly precarious.

  • Wales' remaining fixtures (home in italics): Croatia (15/10), Armenia (18/11), Turkey (21/11)
  • Turkey's remaining fixtures (home in italics): Croatia (12/10), Latvia (15/10), Wales (21/11)

In qualifying group I, Israel finishing ahead of Romania is what Ireland need to happen. In similar fashion to the breakdown in group D, Romania must still travel to Jerusalem to face Israel, and they currently sit one point ahead of the Israeli team in the group standings.

  • Israel's remaining fixtures (home in italics): Switzerland (12/10), Kosovo (15/10), Romania (18/11), Andorra (21/11)
  • Romania's remaining fixtures (home in italics): Belarus (12/10), Andorra (15/10), Israel (18/11), Switzerland (21/11)

These statistics are correct as of the end of the September 2023 qualifying window

It's all very up in the air - and, of course, there is still the very faintest of chances that Ireland could qualify automatically for EURO 2024.

As it stands, however, the play-off route looks to be Ireland's best bet - and they still need a fair few swings in their favour to ensure they will have this to fall back on.

The EURO 2024 play-offs will take place after the conclusion of the qualifying groups, in March of 2024 - meaning Ireland fans may have to wait a while yet to know if the team have qualified for the European Championships.

SEE ALSO: John Giles Goes Against Grain With Thoughts On Stephen Kenny Future

Join The Monday Club Have a tip or something brilliant you wanted to share on? We're looking for loyal Balls readers free-to-join members club where top tipsters can win prizes and Balls merchandise

Processing your request...

You are subscribed now!

Share this article

Copyright © 2023. All rights reserved. Developed by Square1 and powered by PublisherPlus.com