The Republic of Ireland will take on Sweden in their World Cup Qualifying group as Vera Pauw’s side look to qualify for the first major tournament in their history.
The Girls in Green will also take on Finland, Slovakia and Georgia in Group A after the draw was made in Nyon this afternoon.
Should the Republic of Ireland look to qualify automatically for the 2023 World Cup, they must win their group.
However, should they finish second, there is an outside chance of qualification through the playoffs.
And that is something that Pauw is targeting – but she is well aware of the challenges her side face – while also staying confident.
“It’s not a bad draw,” she told the FAI after learning of the draw. “It could be better of course. But it’s a draw we have some perspective in this group.
“Of course, Sweden is a very strong team. They have qualified for the Olympics, so they are one of the best three in Europe because only three from Europe are going to the Olympics.
“But our aim should be getting the runner-up position and there is some perspective there.”
The Girls in Green will also face Finland in Group A – a side who are currently ranked 24th in the World rankings. But like Ireland, they have also never qualified for a World Cup.
“Finland are strong, but Finland are not unbeatable. We are up and we are rising. We will do our best and we also have Slovakia and Georgia so we will try to combine that because they are trips away.
“But they are teams that are ranked below us, and we should be able to get our points there.
“So, again, it is tough, especially the first seeded. But Finland, we’ll see what we can do and be prepared again. We knew the second pot would be a strong team and we go for it.”
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