Ireland avoid worst case scenario in tricky World Cup qualification draw

Spain routed the Azzurri 4-0 in the 2012 European Championship final, but both were eliminated in the first round of last year’s World Cup.


England have been drawn against Scotland in World Cup qualifying Group F.

England and Scotland will additionally meet up everyone else because they were actually engrossed in Group F by using Slovakia, Slovenia, Lithuania and Malta.

“I think it’s better to be in a group like this because it leaves it wide open”, said Martin O’Neill.

Ireland coach Martin O’Neill showed his usual wry humor after his team landed in a World Cup qualifying group with top-seeded Wales. The remaining slots in their group are filled by Czech Republic, Norway, Azerbaijan and San Marino.

A draw assistant waits to reveal the name of a country during the preliminary draw for the 2018 World Cup qualifiers at the Konstantin Palace in Saint Petersburg.

“But this winnable one gives us a chance, no doubt about it”.

“International football is that wonderful bonus if you are doing well, but first of all you have to play well at club level”.

Slovenia, meanwhile, matched England for long spells in a thrilling qualifier in a friendly in June before a late Wayne Rooney victor handed the visitors a 3-2 win.

England will conclude their campaign away to Lithuania on October 8, 2017, with Scotland rounding off their fixtures in Slovenia the same evening.

Hodgson is confident England will not only qualify, but be in a position to make an impression at the Finals in three summers’ time.

“My world is Georgia and Germany, I am not thinking too much about that (World Cup draw)”.

The former contains the Netherlands, France and Sweden in a three-way tussle for the top two spots, with Bulgaria and Belarus likely to cause an upset or two along the way.

Russia, as host nation, has no competitive qualifying matches, which UEFA centrally markets to broadcasters on behalf of its member federations.

Wales coach Chris Coleman claims his side’s primary focus is Euro 2016 qualification, despite avoiding France and Italy in World Cup draw.

Scotland manager Gordon Strachan watched the draw at Hampden Park and said: “There must have been some sort of intervention there, because the sun came out and England got pulled out of the pot at the same time and the place erupted”.

“I do understand also there has been incidences in the past where people’s contracts have been renewed and then it has gone badly in a tournament and, as a result, the FA have found themselves with someone they no longer wanted”.

“We’re looking at the first two or three games home or away and whether you’re playing the tougher ones or the ones who are deemed not so tough, it’s about us performing to our potential and if we do that it will be a good start”.

“The good thing from the supporters’ point of view is there are no ridiculous journeys”.

Hodgson is excited by the prospect of facing Scotland having won a friendly at Celtic Park last November, and he feels his opposite number Strachan will also be content.

But it is the pair of fixtures against each other that has caught the imagination of Scotland and England fans.


“This has been the biggest honour of my career”.

Roy Hodgson says he is happy to wait until after Euro 2016 before discussing his future as England manager