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What We Need To Happen In The Scotland Vs Poland Game Tomorrow Evening

Conor Neville
By Conor Neville
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Following Ireland's dispiriting 1-1 draw with Scotland in Dublin last June, an air of despondency took hold among supporters. Pessimistic types had already written off Ireland's chances of pitching up in France for next summer's extravaganza.

The first week of September changed all that.

Georgian striker Valeri Qazaishvili went a long way towards securing his admission to the Gary Mackay Hall of Fame as the Scots were felled in Tblisi. We received a great dollop of good fortune at a time when people least expected it.

Leading the Scots by four points with two group games remaining, there seems to be a vibe that Ireland have one foot in the playoffs. We're here to urge caution.

In the post-September buoyancy, people have overlooked the fact that if Scotland were to beat Poland at Hampden tomorrow, Ireland will need to win at least one of their remaining two games.

Two draws will not be enough.

Scotland's final game is a gimme against Gibraltar, so, in reality, they are one point behind Ireland with the latter enjoying a game in hand - against Germany.


What are the permutations?


Well, if Poland go to Glasgow tomorrow and win then we needn't worry. We could collect zero points from our last two games and still reach the playoff.


However, in this scenario, our chances of securing an automatic qualification spot are greatly diminished. If Poland win tomorrow, then we require six points from our last two games.

Four points would only do if we beat Germany and then they proceeded to lose to Georgia. Such a scenario is not credible.



Should Scotland and Poland fight out a draw tomorrow, then we will need to claim a point from one of our final two matches to guarantee third spot.

Given that Scotland play Gibraltar in their final game and beat Ireland in the head-to-head match up, a draw in Hampden tomorrow and two losses from Ireland will see us eliminated from the competition.

The prospects for automatic qualification in these circumstances?


Well, three points would be enough provided they arrived in Poland rather than at home to Germany. We would be level with the Poles on 18 points but have bested them on the head-to-head match up.

Alternatively, four points wouldn't be enough for an automatic spot, if the win arrived against Germany as the Poles would beat us on goal difference.



A Scotland win (7/4 in Paddy Power) would leave Ireland needing to win one of their final matches.

In these circumstances, two draws would leave us level with Scotland (and beaten on head-to-head) and a point behind Poland.

As far as automatic qualification goes, four points via any means would do the trick. Three points would suffice provided they come against Poland.



In summary, a Poland win would guarantee us third spot but make an automatic spot deeply improbable. A draw would leave us needing a point to get a playoff, while making an automatic spot that bit more plausible. While a Scotland win would leave us desperately needing a win, but ensuring that a simple win in Poland will guarantee us an automatic spot.

What would you take?

Read more: Martin O'Neill Delivers The News That No One Wanted To Hear





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