Ireland need to lose to the Netherlands to qualify for Euro 2024
A very bizarre situation.
It’s not very often you find yourself realising that a defeat is the best result for you but in Ireland’s case, that’s exactly what they need to keep their Euro 2024 hopes alive.
Stephen Kenny’s side have endured a dismal qualifying campaign so far and find themselves second from bottom of their group, ahead only of minnows Gibraltar.
Their most recent defeat to Greece confirmed their long-held fears that they could not automatically qualify from Group B, but they now have a lifeline thanks to the Nations League.
The play-offs to qualify for the Euros includes the two-best performing sides from the Nations League that failed to qualify automatically for Euro 2024.
In order for Ireland to qualify via that route, they require no more than seven teams above them in the Nations League ranking that failed to qualify automatically.
Since the Netherlands are one of those sides above Ireland, it would be better for Ireland if Ronald Koeman’s side finished above Greece, who are ranked below Kenny’s men in the rankings.
All that being said, Ireland's hopes of qualifying are incredibly slim. To make it, they need Albania or Slovakia to get knocked out. This would take a very unlikely string of results which are shown by Rob Dugg in the graphic below.
I threw this together for Ireland. Am I correct? pic.twitter.com/47ohIINwzt
— Rob 🇮🇪 Peil.ie (@robdugg) October 16, 2023
Ireland's Euro 2024 playoff scenario
A loss to the Netherlands would therefore open up an additional play-off spot for Ireland. However if they were to win it would almost certainly mean they miss out on the tournament in Germany next year.
Ireland defeated Gibraltar 4-0 in their penultimate qualifier before taking on Netherlands in the crucial game on November 18.
Football reporter Owen Cowzer must be credited, too, for coming up with this handy explainer on Ireland's thread-hanging qualification hopes:
What Ireland need to get a play-off...
1. Israel to beat Romania
2. Israel get more points v Andorra than Romania do v Switzerland
3. Iceland to beat Slovakia and Portugal
4. Slovakia to lose to Bosnia- Herzegovina
6. Luxembourg to get no more than 4 pts v Liechtenstein and B&H
— Owen Cowzer (@OCowzer) November 15, 2023
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