Football

What Ireland Need To Do: How We Can Qualify For The 2018 World Cup

What Ireland Need To Do: How We Can Qualify For The 2018 World Cup

It's all going to come down to four days in October, as Ireland's World Cup qualifications took a serious blow on Tuesday evening in Dublin.

Serbia's 1-0 win all but books them a place in Russia next summer. It will be their first World Cup since 2010, after missing on on qualification for Brazil in 2014. They now have a four-point lead over Wales, with Ireland a further point behind.

The first competitive defeat in Dublin in the Martin O'Neill-era means that nothing short of a win against Moldova is needed after Wales defeated Moldova 2-0 away from home.

Source: UEFA.com

 

With two games to go for all six teams, Georgia and Moldova are eliminated, with Austria all but out of the running too.

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Here are the final two rounds of fixtures next month.

October 6th:
Georgia vs Wales
Austria vs Serbia
Ireland vs Moldova

October 9th:
Moldova vs Austria
Serbia vs Georgia
Wales vs Ireland

Automatic qualification is now all but over, following tonight's results. Serbia could wrap up the group with a draw in Austria, but a win would be more than enough.

Two wins from two is what's needed for Martin O'Neill's side, with the October 9th game away to Wales looking like the key to finishing in the top-two.

As was evident on Saturday, Georgia could trouble Wales in Tbilisi, which could leave Ireland in second place going into the final game in Cardiff.

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What makes the route to qualification more complicated is that only eight of the nine second-place teams will enter the play-offs. The eight best teams will be ranked on their performances against every other team in the group, apart from those in sixth place.

Currently, Moldova are bottom of the group. If Ireland are to win that game and finish in second place, they will lose the six points from both wins, hurting their ranking.

Wales are currently the odd-team out, and would miss out if the Qualification process ended tonight. With nine groups to be decided in the coming months, it will be unknown what second-place team misses out until the final round of matches.

What's very simple for Ireland is that they need to beat Moldova and Wales to have any chance of going to Russia next summer. The first ten days of October will be very, very interesting.

SEE ALSO: Aleksandar Kolarov Strikes A Potential Fatal Blow To Ireland's World Cup Hopes

Daniel Kelly

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