World Cup qualifying play-off draw - Who Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland play next

World Cup qualifying play-off draw - Who Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland play next

BOTH the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland can be hopeful of booking their place at the 2018 World Cup next summer after the play-off draw.

Martin O'Neill's boys in green have drawn Denmark while Northern Ireland, who are also vying for a spot in the finals, will take on Switzerland.

The match-ups to contest the final four European tickets have now been decided after the play-off ties featuring the group stage's eight best second-placed sides were confirmed in Zurich.

Germany 2006 winners Italy will face Sweden, while Croatia meets Greece.


Republic of Ireland V Denmark

Northern Ireland V Switzerland

Croatia V Greece

Sweden V Italy

(LtoR) Republic of Ireland's coach Martin O'Neill, Italy's Sports coordinator Gabriele Oriali, Greece's manager Michael Skibbe, Northern Ireland coach Michael O'Neill, Mexican presenter Vanessa Huppenkothen, Fernando Hierro, Croatia's coach Zlatko Dalic, Sweden's coach Janne Andersson and Switzerland's coach Vladimir Petkovic (Picture: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images)

Ireland beat Wales last week to take the runner-up spot in Group D. Northern Ireland finished second to Germany in Group C.

The first and second legs will take place between 9-11 and 12-14 November respectively.

Michael O'Neill's Northern Ireland will play at home in the opening leg. The Republic of Ireland travel to Denmark.

Fernando Hierro shows the name of the Northern Ireland football team during the FIFA football World Cup 2018 European play-off draw (Picture: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP/Getty Images)

“It was interesting to be the first team out," Northern Ireland manager Micheal O'Neill said after the draw.

"We knew whatever team we got was going to be a very difficult game, and Switzerland have had a great qualifying campaign: nine wins, one defeat.

"We’ve only lost one competitive game in Belfast in four years, which was against Germany, so we intend to make it a very difficult night for Switzerland.”

There is also set to be an intriguing reunion when Republic of Ireland take on Denmark.

"I know Denmark and the manager Age Hareide, he and I used to play together, so it is going to be an interesting confrontation," Martin O'Neill said.

Qualifying as hosts, Russia have since been joined by France, Portugal, Germany, Serbia, Poland, England, Spain, Belgium and Iceland, with 23 of the 32 nations now decided for next year’s World Cup.

As well as the four additional European places, five remaining spots will be decided between November 10-15.