A breakdown how Ireland can reach the World Cup via the complicated play-offs route

A breakdown how Ireland can reach the World Cup via the complicated play-offs route

IRELAND WILL play Finland in their latest World Cup qualifier against Finland at Tallaght Stadium. 

Vera Pauw's side are currently in the driving seat to make it out of Group A. 

Ireland are a point ahead of tonight's opponents and will face Slovakia days later. 

If Ireland do manage to come second in the group, they will enter a complicated play-off system. 

The play-off system route will come later in the year. If Ireland manage to get past the playoff's, it will mean that Ireland's women's team will qualify for their first ever major tournament. 

It's a long process though

The World Cup will take place in Australia and New Zealand next year. 

Here's how the play-off system will take place if Ireland get there

Gothenburg , Sweden - 11 April 2022; Manager Vera Pauw speaks to her players after a Republic of Ireland Women training session at Gamla Ullevi in Gothenburg, Sweden. (Photo By Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile via Getty Images)I

Here's what could happen if the Girls in Green win, lose or draw tonight 

If Ireland win tonight 

If Ireland beat Finland in Tallaght tonight, then they will enter the play-off system. 

If Ireland draw tonight 

If Ireland and Finland draw, then Ireland would need to match or better the result in the Sweden and Finland game days later. 

So, if Finland beat Sweden 2-0, then Ireland will need to beat Slovakia by 2 or more goals. A draw for the four sides will also do.  

If Ireland lose tonight  

A loss for Ireland would make things more complicated. If they lose, then Ireland would not improve the score in the Fins final game. 

A 1-0 win for both sides will not be good enough. Ireland will need to win 2-0 in that instance.  

How the playoff's work 

The winners of Europe's nine qualifying groups are going to the World Cup. The teams that have already made it are Sweden, Spain, Netherlands, England, Denmark, Norway, Italy, Germany, and France 

The nine runners-up in those groups head for the UEFA play-offs. Some of these teams like Ireland have not confirmed their place yet. These are Ireland, Iceland, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina  

The three best runners-up in thier groups get byes to round 2. As of September 1st, the three best runners up are Belgium, Switzerland, and Iceland.  

The other six teams will play three single-leg play-offs in round 1 on 6 October. 

If Ireland claim six points, they could avoid playing play two play-off rounds, and get a pass to play a single play-off but anything other than an Ireland win in two games will end that.  

The winners from round 1, and the teams that go directly to round 2, then compete in single-leg play-offs on 11 October. 

The two play-off winners with the highest ranking (based on results in the qualifying group stage and round 2 play-offs) progress to the finals. 

The other play-off winner will have to go to the inter-confederation play-offs from 17 to 23 February 2023 in New Zealand. 

Let's hope Ireland can do it