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Ireland to face England in tough Nations League draw



The Republic of Ireland have been drawn in a difficult UEFA Nations League group alongside England, Finland and Greece.

The Irish side, still without a manager following Stephen Kenny’s departure last November, were saddled with one of the hardest conceivable draws in Paris for the 2024-25 campaign.

Top seeds in Ireland’s group are Gareth Southgate’s England, relegated from League A in the most recent 2022-23 Nations League campaign.

Significantly, it will mean a first competitive men’s senior international against England since March 1991, when Niall Quinn’s goal delivered a 1-1 draw at Wembley Stadium.

Former footballer Aleksandar Kolarov draws the Republic of Ireland alongside England, Finland and Greece in League B

Since then, Ireland have met England in four friendly internationals, the first of which, in March 1995, infamously had to be abandoned due to hooliganism among the away support when Ireland led 1-0.

Subsequent friendlies were played in Wembley in 2013 and the Aviva Stadium in 2015, the former ending 1-1 after Shane Long had put the visitors in front with a powerful header, and the latter ending goalless.

The November 2020 friendly, played in an empty Wembley, ended in a 3-0 win for England, their first victory in the fixture since 1985.

Football Association of Ireland director of football Marc Canham said: “It’s tough, but exciting, some amazing games and obviously we’re playing England for the first time in a while.

“It’s a great opportunity for our players and team and our amazing fans, an experience they can really look forward to.”

UEFA Nations League draw: As it happened

The group also sees Ireland re-united with Gus Poyet’s Greece, who inflicted home and away defeats against Stephen Kenny’s side in last year’s Euro 2024 qualifiers.

Second seeds in the group are Finland, who Ireland faced in their second Nations League outing in 2020, losing 1-0 both home and away.

All six fixtures will be played between September and November of this year.

Michael O’Neill’s Northern Ireland were drawn in Group C3, where they will take on Luxembourg, Bulgaria and Belarus.

Wales will be up against Iceland, Montenegro and Turkey in Group B4.

Steve Clarke’s Scotland are up against Croatia, Portugal and Poland in Group A1.

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