Ireland handed tough qualifying group for Euro 2024

Ireland handed tough qualifying group for Euro 2024

IRELAND will face an uphill challenge to qualify for Euro 2024 in Germany after being drawn in a tough qualifying group on Sunday.

Seeded in Pot 3, the Boys in Green have been drawn in Group B against Nations League finalists the Netherlands and reigning World Cup champions France, as well as Greece and Gibraltar.

France have won the competition twice, while both the Netherlands and Greece have won it once.

Jürgen Klinsmann draws Ireland during the qualification event in Frankfurt am Main, Germany (Image: Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images)

Some pundits have already dubbed Group B the group of death.

"It’s as tough a draw as we could have got," Ireland boss Stephen Kenny told RTÉ Sport in the wake of the draw.

Here, we take a look at Ireland's chances of progressing to the finals in Germany in 2024.


The Netherlands were the top seeds in the draw by virtue of their ranking in the 2022/23 Nations League.

The Dutch amassed 16 points as the only unbeaten side in League A at this summer’s group stage, earning them a place in the finals next June.

They defeated tournament debutants Ireland en route to winning the European Championships in 1988.

Kylian Mbappe during France's Nations League game in Demark last month (Image: Ulrik Pedersen/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)

While France had a disappointing Nations League campaign this year, they were still one of the toughest sides in Pot 2 and boast one of the world's most lethal strikers in Kylian Mbappe.

They won the Euros in 1984 and 2000 and reached the final in 2016, beating Ireland in the last 16.

Greece may not be as glamourous as their Dutch and French counterparts, but they defeated Northern Ireland twice as they won promotion from League C of the Nations League.

The 150-1 pre-tournament outsiders shocked the footballing world when they beat France and Portugal (twice) on their way to lifting Euro 2004.

Hope springs eternal

It's not all doom and gloom for Ireland though.

Ireland have come through difficult qualifying campaigns in the past, most memorably after being drawn alongside the Netherlands and Portugal in qualifying for the 2002 World Cup.

They also drew with and defeated Germany in the qualifiers for Euro 2016 before reaching the finals after a play-off victory over Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Jason McAteer celebrates his goal against the Netherlands in a 2002 World Cup qualifier at Lansdowne Road in September 2001 (Image: Jamie McDonald /Allsport)

They finished second and qualified for both the 1990 and 1994 World Cups, both times as runner-up to Spain, and topped a Euro 88 qualifying group that included Belgium and Bulgaria.

Ireland did have a disappointing Nations League campaign, narrowly avoiding relegation after a 3-2 home win over Armenia.

However, they finished their World Cup 2022 qualifying campaign strongly after a poor start, and Kenny will be hoping to rediscover that form when qualifying for Germany 2024 gets under way.


Ireland have also fared reasonably well against some of their Group B opponents in the past.

They have lost only once in their past five meetings with the Dutch stretching back to 2000.

That run includes the famous 1-0 win in World Cup 2002 qualifying, in which 10-man Ireland defeated a star-studded Dutch line-up thanks to Jason McAteer's goal.

Ireland also defeated the Netherlands in qualifying for the 1982 World Cup, however that's also the same campaign we need to go back to for their last win over France.

Thierry Henry during the infamous second leg of the 2010 World Cup play-off between France and Ireland (Image: LIONEL BONAVENTURE/AFP via Getty Images)

They have drawn three and lost four of their seven meetings since, although they ran the French close in a 2-1 defeat at Euro 2016.

The infamous 1-1 draw in Paris in 2009 will also be on Ireland fans' minds when they face Les Bleus, a game in which Theirry Henry's handball led to William Gallas' extra-time goal that sent the French through to South Africa on aggregate.

Ireland have never faced Greece competitively, but are yet to score against them in three friendly encounters, drawing once and losing 1-0 twice.

However, the Boys in Green have won all four of their meetings with Gibraltar, all the games coming in European qualifying for the 2016 and 2020 tournaments.


Northern Ireland have been drawn in Group H alongside Denmark, Finland, Slovenia, Kazakhstan and San Marino.

Pot 2 seeds England face Italy, Ukraine, North Macedonia and Malta in Group C.

Wales have been drawn in Group D with Croatia, Armenia, Turkey and Latvia, while Scotland will face Spain, Norway, Georgia and Cyprus in Group A.

Northern Ireland boss Ian Baraclough following Sunday’s draw (Image: Boris Streubel - UEFA/UEFA via Getty Images)

Qualification gets under way next spring, with the first round of matches scheduled to take place between March 23-25, 2023.

Matchday 2 games will be held between March 26-28.

The final round of matches are scheduled for November 19-21, with the play-offs fixed for March 21 and 26, 2024.

The tournament kicks off in Munich on June 14, 2024.