Seven Super Facts Ahead Of Ireland’s Euro 2020 Qualifiers
We might still be in the early stages of 2019, but thoughts are already turning to the summer of 2020 as the UEFA European Championship qualifiers begin in earnest. The road to…er, 12 different countries (we’ll explain in a moment!) starts this week, and Ireland have a pair of potential banana skins to negotiate right out of the gate.
So what do you need to know before the action begins? Well, the most important thing is the games themselves – Saturday sees the boys in green off to Gibraltar, live on Sky Sports Football (Virgin TV 407), while three days later they’ll be in Dublin to host Georgia; live on Sky Sports Main Event (Virgin TV 401), kick-off will be at 7.45pm.
And if you want to wax lyrical while watching, we’ve got the goods on that front too; from need-to-knows to quirky nuggets that’ll impress your mates, check out the gems we’ve gathered below…
The UEFA European Championships 2020 tournament will be hosted in 12 different cities across the continent – including games in the Aviva Stadium – so it’s only fitting that the opening ties will land them with a visit to one far-flung outpost, followed by an evening of home comforts!
Ireland begin the campaign safely within Europe’s top 20 teams – which should make qualifying for the 24 team tournament a doddle, right?!
There was disappointment that Gibraltar’s Victoria Stadium would welcome only 300 Irish fans – but let’s be realistic here, what did you expect?! The entire population of Gibraltar (34,571 at last count) wouldn’t come close to filling the Aviva!
Ireland’s trip to Gibraltar will fall right around a special anniversary for the hosts; this time last year they enjoyed their only ever win as a FIFA nation, with a victory against Latvia.
If familiarity breeds contempt, then our lads must be sick to the sight of Georgia! The sides have landed in the same qualifying group for the third consecutive occasion – meaning fans travelling from Tbilisi will probably know Dublin pretty well by now…
While there’s confidence that strong results await, Irish fans know all too well that the real business is still to come; Switzerland and Denmark are the more intimidating opposition awaiting down the road…
Even an unsuccessful effort in their group isn’t the end of the road for Mick McCarthy’s men; playoffs through the UEFA Nations League may act as a last chance saloon this time next year…though it’d be a lot more straight-forward if we could take care of it at first time of asking!
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