It might not have been the most convincing display Ireland will ever put in, but their 2-1 win against Armenia last night has given them a brilliant chance of being at next summer’s European Championships.
Armenia lost goalkeeper Roman Berezovsky early on with a red card and things got even worse for the visitors when Valeri Aleksanyan scored an own goal.
The win – and the play-off place – was made safe thanks to a Richard Dunne strike, but things ended up being closer than they should have been when Kevin Doyle was sent off following a goal from Armenia’s Henrikh Mkhitaryan.
A draw would have been enough for Ireland but they went one better and now head into the Euro 2012 play-off draw as one of the seeds.
It means they will avoid fellow seeds Portugal who qualified for the play-offs by virtue of goal difference, having finished on the same number of points and with an identical head-to-head record as Norway.
Also amongst the seeds are Croatia who finished behind Greece in Group F and the Czech Republic who ended up behind Spain.
Ireland will now face a two-legged play-off game against either Bosnia, Estonia, Montenegro or Turkey – all very winnable games for the Irish.
Meanwhile, Spain were once again brilliant against Scotland and completed a perfect Group I campaign with a 3-1 win.
They head into the European Championships as favourites at 5/2 with Germany second favourites at 4/1.