Here are the two ways that Ireland can qualify for Euro 2020 11 months ago

Here are the two ways that Ireland can qualify for Euro 2020

Here are the routes Ireland can take to reach Euro 2020.

The draw for Euro 2020 qualification was made at the Convention Centre in Dublin on Sunday morning. The Republic of Ireland were drawn in Group D alongside Switzerland, Denmark, Georgia and Gibraltar.

All teams will be very familiar to Mick McCarthy's side.

Ireland have played Denmark four times over the last year - three of those games finished goalless and the other was a 5-1 defeat at the Aviva Stadium in the second leg of the World Cup play-off.

In the qualification campaigns for Euro 2016 and the 2018 World Cup, Georgia were in Ireland's group. While Gibraltar were in Ireland's qualification group for Euro 2016. Ahead of that tournament, Ireland played Switzerland in a friendly in Dublin.

So, there will be no surprises in the group, and there is no heavyweight football nation in there either - although Switzerland are the top-ranked side in Europe.

It is not an easy group, but it could have been a lot worse. Ireland team had originally been drawn in Group C alongside Germany and the Netherlands.

Instead, McCarthy's team went into Group D, and Northern Ireland took Ireland's place in Group C, as more than two host nations for the tournament could not be drawn alongside each other - Amsterdam, Munich and Dublin are among the 12 host cities for Euro 2020.

Ireland can be somewhat optimistic about reaching Euro 2020, or at least being more competitive than they have been over the last year. As Richie Sadlier said on RTE following the draw, the team will be better organised under McCarthy and the players will be sure of their roles in the team.

Due to the bloated nature of Euro 2020, where 24 of Uefa's 55 nations qualify for the tournament, it is almost more difficult not to qualify. Almost.

Here the two ways Ireland can reach the tournament, which will see Dublin host four matches.

Finish first or second in the group.

If Ireland finish first or second in their group, they will automatically qualify for the tournament. Simple.

However, it won't be easy. Switzerland are a talented team. They finished ahead of Belgium and Iceland in their Nations League group and reached the last-16 of the 2018 World Cup.

Denmark, as we know, also reached the last-16 of the World Cup and qualified for the tournament at Ireland's expense. They also topped their Nations League group ahead of Ireland and Wales.

Considering Ireland haven't won a competitive match in over a year, it might be too much to expect them to beat either side to one of the two top spots.

Qualify through the Nations League playoff.

There are 10 qualification groups and the top two from each will qualify automatically for Euro 2020. The four other places will be decided by a Nations League playoff in March 2020. This could be Ireland's most likely route to the tournament.

The playoffs will be contested by the 16 winners of the Nations League groups. If a group winner has already qualified for Euro 2020, then the next best-ranked team will take their place in the playoffs.

Basically, the four highest ranked teams from each Nations League group - which are shown below - who do not qualify automatically Euro 2020, will contest a playoff in March 2020.

If a league doesn't have four teams to compete in the playoff, the remaining slots will be allocated to teams from another league, according to the overall Nations League ranking.

Ireland are currently ranked 23rd.

So, if every League A team qualify, which is a distinct possibility, then the four best-ranked teams from League B who did not automatically qualify for the tournament will contest that play-off.

As you would expect most teams from League A, and several from League B, to qualify automatically, there should be a playoff place for Ireland if they don't automatically reach the tournament. For Ireland to not get a play-off place, six teams ranked below them would have to come first or second in their group - which won't happen.

So, the more teams from Leagues A and B that qualify automatically for the tournament, the easier Ireland's potential playoff will be, as it will be contested by lower ranked teams from League C. The playoff will be a two-legged semi-final and then a final.

If this still isn't clear, click here or here for more information.

Here is the full qualification draw for Euro 2020:

Group A

England, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Kosovo.

Group B

Portugal, Ukraine, Serbia, Lithuania, Luxembourg.

Group C

Netherlands, Germany, Northern Ireland, Estonia, Belarus.

Group D

Switzerland, Denmark, Republic of Ireland, Georgia, Gibraltar.

Group E

Croatia, Wales, Slovakia, Hungary, Azerbaijan.

Group F

Spain, Sweden, Norway, Romania, Faroe Islands, Malta.

Group G

Poland, Austria, Israel, Slovenia, Macedonia, Latvia.

Group H

France, Iceland, Turkey, Albania, Moldova, Andorra.

Group I

Belgium, Russia, Scotland, Cyprus, Kazakhstan, San Marino.

Group J

Italy, Bosnia, Finland, Greece, Armenia, Liechtenstein.