World Cup play-offs: Guide to Ireland & Northern Ireland’s opponents
There are four more European places in next year’s World Cup up for grabs. And the eight sides that made it to the play-offs found out their opponents in Tuesday afternoon’s draw.
Sweden v Italy is arguably the best tie, but closer to home, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland will both have to overcome tough opposition in November to make it to Russia.
Northern Ireland face Switzerland, while the Republic have been drawn against Denmark.
Here’s all the lowdown on their opponents:
FIFA Ranking: 11
Qualifying record: Finished level on 27 points with Group B winners Portugal but had worse goal difference
Recent form: Vladimir Petkovic’s side had racked up 10 consecutive wins after Euro 2016 before their crucial defeat to Portugal in the final group game.
Head-to-Head: The two nations have only faced each other four times before. There have been two draws and a win apiece.
Star Man: Xherdan Shaqiri – the Stoke City winger is inconsistent but can be devastating on his day
FIFA Ranking: 19
Qualifying record: Only conceded eight goals but finished five points behind Group E winners Poland
Recent form: It’s been a while since Ireland faced Denmark. But history is in their favour. They’ve only lost two of the 12 games against the Danes, going back to 1956.
Head-to-Head: Age Hareide’s team are unbeaten in their last five games. They’ve only conceded once during that run.
Star Man: Christian Eriksen – the Tottenham playmaker has the quality to unlock any defence
Click here for all the latest World Cup play-off odds
All Odds and Markets correct as of the date of publication