Four matches were played, two remain; Barring a strange set of results over the next week, Ireland looks set to end their campaign in League B, Group 1 in ambiguity in the middle of the table.
A disappointing start to the season, with Stephen Kenny’s side surprisingly losing 1-0 away at home in Armenia, was followed by a home defeat to Ukraine that effectively disqualified promotion to the UEFA Nations League.
Indeed, this still-nascent Ireland side threw a relegation net with the lowest-ranked team, Armenia, with four games left to save the season and avoid relegation.
A kick-off was needed, and it arrived thanks to an overall 3-0 home win against Scotland in a convincing performance by a Kenyan side.
The team followed up further in لودód, as they battled hard to secure a 1-1 away draw in Poland, against a Ukraine side who are still unable to play at home as a result of the Russian invasion of their country. .
The four-game blitz over ten summer nights finished off properly, with many positives to be drawn from the last two games, from Michael Obafemi’s rise to the international side, combined with Nathan Collins’ top-tier showing in the first leg. Against Ukraine, where the Player of the Match performance was capped by a superb individual effort.
Ireland are now third in the group ahead of the weekend’s first leg in Glasgow, followed by a home game against Armenia on Tuesday, and provided Kenny’s men avoid a repeat of the opening score against the fourth-placed team, they should be safe. from landing.
At this point, Ukraine looks like they will top the group, however, they must play three matches a week now, as a result of their participation in the World Cup during the summer.
Scotland similarly; Coach Steve Clark’s side will continue to fantasize about their chances of vying for the top spot, as they host Ukraine on Wednesday night with a chance to move up to first place ahead of the last two games.
The Scots and Ukraine meet again in the final round of matches next Tuesday night in Krakow in what could be a group deciding factor, while the latter is expected to get full points against Armenia on Saturday.
Based on the two teams’ performances against the Irish, Ukraine should be seen as the favorite to beat the Scots in two matches.
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Ireland could, of course, finish the group on 10 points with wins for Hampden Park on Saturday and Aviva Stadium three days later, but it would take a total collapse by Ukraine to overtake a team already on seven points. .
Preliminary optimism ahead of the group, with the lead not just an ambition but a realistic goal for the manager, but as things turn – and assuming the team can perform close to their potential over the next seven days – will drop a worthwhile six-game streak, looking ahead to the Nations Cup qualifying campaign. European 2024 next year.
Ireland’s next competitive game will not arrive until next March as qualification begins for that tournament hosted by Germany, however, there should be some friendly action in November, before the unique Winter World Cup begins in Qatar.
A top spot in the Nations League group would have guaranteed Ireland a back road to Euro 2024, however, if the 2020 process had gone well, Ireland would still have the option to go in March of that year.
But Kenya’s first team will go on a qualifying campaign with the top two teams automatically qualifying for the tournament, so the manager will certainly look to seal his team’s ticket to Germany through the traditional route – the qualifying groups are drawn at the Frankfurt Festival on October 9.
Next year’s campaign will be the third of Kenny’s entertaining and somewhat explosive tenure as Irish coach, and while he has now built a team in his own image, incorporating a style of how the game is played according to ball-play and possession-based philosophy, he will surely take one real lesson in Seeking qualification.
Ireland lost their first two World Cup qualifiers, which excluded them from qualifying for the tournament, and made the same mistake, catching a cold in the opening matches of the current Nations League season.
“You can’t win the championship on Thursday, but you can certainly lose it” is a well-cited mantra in the golf world, and the same is true for the start of next year’s vital campaign, where Kenny wants his team to hit the ground running and, like football, keep their hopes up. To qualify in the foreground.
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