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After That Grim Result, Here's Exactly What Needs To Happen For Ireland To Progress

After That Grim Result, Here's Exactly What Needs To Happen For Ireland To Progress
By Paul McNulty
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A win against the already-confirmed Italians is pretty much the only route Ireland have to qualification now.
That would leave Ireland on four points and a 97 percent chance of going through as one of the best third-place qualifiers. Italy are guaranteed to finish top of the group and their manager Antonio Conte has already confirmed that he will rest players for next Wednesday night's game in Lille.

A Belgian win over Sweden would then guarantee Ireland third place with four points. Obviously a win would improve Ireland's goal difference which stands at -3 following the hammering from Belgium this afternoon so Ireland's goal difference would be at least -2.

To come second, Ireland would need a Sweden win against Belgium. Sweden have a goal difference of -1 as compared with Ireland's -3. So to leapfrog the Swedes into second place - Ireland would need to beat Italy by three goals more than Sweden beat Belgium. So a 1-0 win for Sweden would mean Ireland need a 4-0 win over the Italians.

The Dream Result:

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Any sort of win against Italy for guarantees us at least third place and a serious chance at qualification.

The Nightmare Result:

Losing to Italy just kills us stone dead. No need for any hypotheticals.

The Typically Irish Result:

A draw against Italy combined with a Swedish draw against Belgium. That would mean Ireland would miss out on third place because of goal difference.

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Even if Belgium beat Sweden, a draw for Ireland against Italy would leave us with two points and a goal difference of -3. It would mean Ireland would finish third in the group but that's highly unlikely to get Ireland through as one of the best third-placed finishers (estimated as a 2% chance).

Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

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