Football

Ireland Will Play "Two Games At Home" If They Qualify For EURO 2020

Ireland Will Play "Two Games At Home" If They Qualify For EURO 2020

It has been a footballing year that began far better than it ended for the Republic of Ireland.

On top of Group D as 2016 came to a close, 2017 - despite some hearty positives - ended on a low-point. With Friday's World Cup draw confirming once and for all that Ireland definitely won't be going to Russia, some good news has been forthcoming.

As they confirm their preparations for EURO 2020, UEFA have announced that "each qualified host country will play a minimum of two games at home".

With Dublin among the 12 host cities selected for this one-off format, it conceivably means that Ireland - should they qualify for the tournament in 2020 - will play two group stage games in the Aviva stadium.

Marking the 60th anniversary of the tournament, UEFA decided to take the European Championships on the road in 2020. Although the prospect of a host nation(s) will be missed, this caveat represents a rare opportunity for fans of countries like Ireland, Scotland, Denmark and, em, Azerbaijan to witness their side play in a "home" tournament.

Although it would be somewhat remiss to assume Ireland's place at a tournament that they have qualified only twice for previously is assured, the expanded 24-team format does improve the chances significantly.

With a lot of football to be played before UEFA can possibly determine more details, each of the 12 host cities have been paired together in six groups of two.

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Paired on "the basis of sporting strength and geographical considerations", it means a trip to Spain could be on the cards for travelling Irish fans also.

While it had already been announced that London's Wembley Stadium was set to host the tournament's final, Rome's Stadio Olimpico has been selected as the venue for the opening match.

In a strange turn of Brexit schadenfreude, it was also announced that due to Brussels' Eurostadium failing,

to meet the conditions imposed by the UEFA Executive Committee ... the four matches (three group, one round of 16) initially scheduled to be held in Brussels will now be allocated to London's Wembley Stadium.

In what would be an extremely exciting turn of events for fans of Irish football, all we have to do now is qualify.

See Also: The Greatest XI: How To Manage A Team Of 'International' Messis

Arthur James O'Dea

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