Northern Ireland staring down barrel of place in Pot Five for Euro 2024 qualifying

4 days ago

Northern Ireland face an acclivous battle to defended a abode in Pot Four for the accessible Euro 2024 condoning draw.

efa has accepted it will use Nations League rankings to actuate which pot each nation will be placed in for the draw, which will be staged in Frankfurt on October 9.

That way it’s acceptable which Ian Baraclough’s disturbing aggregation will choose to defended at least four credibility from their accessible encounters with Kosovo and Greece to abstain bottomward into Pot Five with the brand of Malta and Moldova.

If Northern Ireland are beatific abolition into Pot Five, they will be handed an abundantly difficult condoning group, which will affection four nations — including the achievability of two European heavyweights — ranked aloft them in the Fifa listings.

Baraclough’s male can abstain this fate and move into Pot Four if they either complete 2nd in Group B of Nations League C, or they are one of the two best third-placed finishers in League C.

As things stand, the male in blooming sit in third in Group B, four credibility abaft tomorrow’s opponents Kosovo.

To complete in 2nd atom and abode in Pot Four, Northern Ireland must win in Belfast tomorrow and beat Alain Giresse’s Kosovo aggregation on Tuesday night.

That’s a large ask as Kosovo host minnows Cyprus, while Baraclough’s charges appointment aggregation winners Greece, in the final annular of Nations League fixtures.

A further acceptable alleyway into Pot Four is by actuality one of the best two third-placed finishers in League C.

However, alike which is a alpine task.

While Northern Ireland have alone two points, the added third placed teams — Faroe Islands (4), Azerbaijan (4), Bulgaria (3) — have more.

Things could get alike worse for bang-up Baraclough if Cyprus beat Northern Ireland in this week’s final two Nations League C fixtures.

If which happens, the Cypriots will abduct third atom and NI will complete basal of Group B of League C.

That does not, however, intend Northern Ireland will be automatically relegated to League D for the abutting Nations League campaign. Instead, they will face the abasement of a two-legged assignment play-out, due to be played in March 2023.

As things stand, the bottom-placed teams set to bead into those play-offs are Lithuania, Belarus and Gibraltar.

The two losers will accompany the department for Uefa’s basement sides that includes the brand of San Marino and Liechtenstein.

A absolute of 23 teams will accompany host Germany at Euro 2024. For qualification, there will be 10 groups of either bristles or six teams. The high two teams from each aggregation will authorize for the finals.

Three spots will be absitively via the Nations League, with a four-team play-off alleyway for League A, League B and League C. However there will be no play-off for League D — unlike in Euro 2020 while North Macedonia able via the basal department — which way Nations League assignment would be a bifold abstract for Northern Ireland.

While it is sometimes answered which Nations League is off little significance, this week’s accessories are of basic accent to Baraclough and his Northern Ireland team.

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