Explainer: How to watch Ireland’s crucial World Cup qualifier against Finland? What do the Girls in Green need to do to make the play-off? How do the play-offs work?
The Republic of Ireland take on Finland in their final home game of their Women’s World Cup Group A campaign on Thursday evening in Tallaght (kick-off 7pm).
So can I go along to Tallaght to watch the game?
You can, if you have a ticket. If not, there is no point in getting the Red LUAS line to Tallaght as this game sold out within 30 minutes of going on general sale after over 2,000 kids tickets were distributed to 91 clubs and schools.
Ireland skipper Katie McCabe said: “It is fantastic to have the game against Finland sold out and knowing that so many kids will be there makes it even better because they help to create an atmosphere that will give us an extra edge.”
Can I watch the game on TV?
Yes. It is live on RTÉ2 and the RTÉ player.
What must Ireland do to make the World Cup play-offs?
The Republic of Ireland have two more matches in the qualification campaign – the home game against Finland and an away match in Slovakia next Tuesday.
Sweden are already through and only Ireland or Finland can finish runners up and get the play-off spot from this group.
A play-off will be secured if
(a) Ireland beat Finland
(b) Ireland draw with Finland and against Slovakia match whatever Finland do ahead to Sweden.
(c) Ireland lose to Finland 1-0 or 2-1, beat Slovakia and Finland draw at home to Sweden
(e) Ireland lose to Finland by more than two clear goals, beat Slovakia and Finland lose at home to Sweden
How many teams qualify from the play-off route?
The nine runners up in each of UEFA’s group enter the play-off route. There are two qualification positions that teams can claim through that European football association play-offs, with a third UEFA team getting a further back-door after that by entering an even more complicated FIFA play-off next year.
How do the play-offs work?
The process is that the three best runners-up from the nine UEFA groups will be seeded directly to round 2 of the play-offs while the six remaining runners-up contest three single-leg play-offs in round 1 to provide three winners.
It looks unlikely that Ireland will secure one of the best runners-up spots even by beating both Finland and Slovakia.
The three winners from round 1 and the three teams who were seeded directly to round 2 will compete in single-leg play-offs.
The two play-off winners with the highest ranking (based on results in the qualifying group stage and round 2 play-offs) will qualify for the finals.
Those matches are set for OCtober 6 and 11.
The remaining play-off winner will compete as UEFA’s single representative in an inter-confederation FIFA play-off mini-tournament in February 2023 in New Zealand.
How does the FIFA play-off work?
The team from UEFA will compete with nine others for the final three qualifying spots for the tournament at Waikato Stadium in Hamilton/Kirikiriroa and North Harbour Stadium in Auckland/Timaki Makaurau at
Thailand, Chinese Taipei, Cameroon, Senegal, Haiti, Paraguay, Panama, Chile and Papua New Guinea have already confirmed their participation the FIFA play-off tournament.
Four teams will be seeded in the tournament based on the latest FIFA/Coca-Cola Women’s World Ranking prior to the play-off draw, with a maximum of one seeded team per confederation.
In Group 1, comprising three teams, seed 1 will play for a place in the FIFA Women’s World Cup against the winners of the knockout game involving the two unseeded teams in the group.
In Group 2, comprising three teams, seed 2 will play for a place in the FIFA Women’s World Cup against the winners of the knockout game involving the two unseeded teams in the group.
In Group 3, comprising four teams, seeds 3 and seed 4 will play against the two unseeded teams in the group, with the two winners then playing for a place in the FIFA Women’s World Cup.
“It is a very hard and long road to go still,” said Vera Pauw in the build up to the game. “I know that everyone is excited. We are also excited for the position where we are. We deserve it but we have to be realistic and go game by game. Very hard. Very hard route.
“You can end up that we have to win four games to qualify, whereas another country needs only one play-off win to qualify.”