The Republic of Ireland men's team will not be going to Euro 2024 via automatic qualification route like other countries. However, there is a slim chance that they could still make it to the tournament via the playoff option. This is extremely unlikely to happen, but here's a detailed explanation of how that could occur.
Four losses out of five have left Ireland second from the bottom in their Euro qualifying group this campaign. After this month's 2-0 defeat to Greece in Dublin, the chances of securing a spot became remote.
France has already secured a spot in next summer's tournament by leading Group B with 18 points. Greece is in second place with 12 points. Netherlands is third with nine points, Ireland is fourth with three points, and Gibraltar is at the bottom with no points.
Next year, twelve teams will compete for three playoff spots based on their performance in the 2022/23 Nations League. Teams from Leagues A, B, and C that haven't qualified yet will have a chance, with four teams chosen from each league.
According to UEFA rules, if fewer than four teams from one league enter the playoffs, the first spot goes to the best-ranked group winner of League D, which is Estonia. Any remaining spots will be given to the best-ranked teams that have not already qualified.
For Ireland to make it to the playoffs, no more than seven teams ranked higher than them in the Nations League can fail to qualify directly. The Netherlands, currently in that position, could benefit Ireland by qualifying, pushing Greece down the rankings.
Ireland needs to be higher than Greece to secure the playoff spot. Spain, Portugal, Belgium, France, and Germany are already through. Ireland is 26th in the Nations League and could qualify if results favour them and only four teams above them in League B fail to qualify directly.
For Ireland to have a chance at qualifying for Germany 2024, they will need to deliberately lose against the Netherlands next month. Yes, you read that right; it says Ireland need to 'LOSE' to the Netherlands in Amsterdam next month if they want to make the playoffs in March next year.
If Ireland wins against the Netherlands in November, that would almost certainly take away Ireland's chance to advance as it could stop Koeman's side from finishing above Greece.
Ireland plays the Netherlands on November 18 in Amsterdam.