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Republic of Ireland draw Denmark in plum World Cup play-off draw
Published: October 17, 2017

The Republic of Ireland have been handed the most favourable draw possible as they were paired with Denmark in the World Cup 2018 play-off draw on Tuesday afternoon.


Martin O'Neill's side avoided the more intimidating prospects of Italy and Croatia, while Northern Ireland were drawn with the top-ranked seed, Switzerland.


Denmark were the lowest-ranked of the seeded teams, currently sitting 19th in Europe, just seven places ahead of the Boys in Green.


Ireland have been drawn away from home in the first leg – traditionally seen as advantageous – and will face the Danes in Copenhagen on Saturday, November 11th at 7.45pm (Irish time).


The return leg will take place three days later, on Tuesday, November 14th, at the Aviva Stadium with kick-off scheduled for 7.45pm.



Speaking to the FAI's official website shortly after the draw was made, O'Neill pronounced himself satisfied with the draw.


"We're delighted to have been drawn away from home first,” O'Neill said.


“So we will try to get some sort of advantage or certainly negate Denmark's advantages before we get to Dublin.


"We have two games in quick succession and the turnover will be very quick, so let's go for it."



Switzerland are ranked 11th and will represent a significant obstacle for Michael O'Neill's Green and White Army.


The Swiss won nine of their 10 group games before narrowly missing out on goal difference to Portugal following a 2-0 defeat on the final day's play.


Northern Ireland will confident, however, following a successful qualifying campaign of their own that saw them keep seven clean sheets in finishing second to world champions Germany.


The North will host the first leg at Windsor Park on Thursday, November 9th at 7.45pm, before travelling to Basel on Sunday 12th for the return leg.


"Whoever we got we knew it was going to be a difficult game,” said the Northern Irish boss.


“Switzerland have had a great qualifying campaign, nine victories and one defeat, but I think it gives us the opportunity to go to Russia.


"We have to be in the first game in Belfast but we look forward to the games and know we will have to be at our best."



Elsewhere, Croatia were drawn against Croatia while Sweden were picked out of the hat alongside their Euro 2016 group opponents the Azzurri.

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