Euro 2024: Ireland Face Uphill Battle to Qualify
Several international teams improved their chances of featuring in the 2024 European Championship in Germany after the latest batch of qualifying games.
Four nations boast a perfect record in the qualifiers following last weekend’s matches – France, Portugal, England and Scotland.
The latter two teams look a good bet to progress to the finals – a point that does not apply to the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and Wales.
With that in mind we take a closer look at the latest state-of-play in the Euro 2024 qualifiers for Ireland and the four United Kingdom teams.
Ireland’s Tournament Drought Set to Continue
Ireland’s last major tournament appearance was in the 2012 European Championship and it would be a brave move to back them to end their drought by qualifying for Euro 2024.
Stephen Kenny’s side have picked up just three points from their first three games in Group B and face an uphill battle to secure a top two spot.
Their chances of progressing to the tournament are reflected by the odds on new betting sites in Ireland, with several bookmakers rating them as 125/1 shots to win the group.
The bookies know the time of day when it comes to setting football odds and it would be a major surprise if Ireland can defy expectations in a tough group.
Dismal Run Ends Northern Ireland’s Hopes
Northern Ireland are in even worse shape in Group H having recorded just one victory from their opening four matches.
They started their campaign with a 2-0 success in San Marino, but things have gone rapidly downhill since then.
Single-goal defeats against Finland, Denmark and Kazakhstan have left Northern Ireland fifth in a supremely competitive six-team group.
With trips to Slovenia and Kazakhstan next on the agenda in September, Northern Ireland’s qualification hopes are remote.
England Cruising Towards Euro 2024
England last failed to qualify for a major tournament in 1994, when Graham Taylor famously failed to guide them to the World Cup in the United States.
They have never slipped up since then and are well on track to progress to Euro 2024 after winning their first four games in Group C.
As is often the case with the Three Lions, there has beenplenty of hyperbole on display from the English media about their recent performances.
While they are undoubtedly nailed on to play in Germany, backing them to lift their first trophy since 1966 is fraught with danger given their penchant for failure at major tournaments.
Scotland Shining in Group A
Scotland’s time as underachievers is slowly becoming a thing of the past, with manager Steve Clarke restoring some pride in the international team.
They qualified for the 2020 European Championship and were arguably unfortunate to miss out on the 2022 World Cup after being ousted by Ukraine in the qualifying play-offs.
They have put that disappointment firmly behind them to record four successive victories in Group A against Cyprus, Spain, Norway and Georgia.
Three of Scotland’s remaining four qualifiers are away from home, but they should have enough about them to secure a top two place in the group.
Woeful Wales Struggling in the Post-Bale Era
Wales collected four points from their opening two games in Group D with a draw in Croatia and a home victory over Latvia.
However, anyone hoping that Rob Page’s side would qualify easily were dashed when they suffered dismal defeats against Armenia and Turkey.
Gareth Bale’s retirement from football has left Wales bereft of attacking quality and they face a tough task to book their spot at Euro 2024.
A victory in their next outing in Latvia on September 11 is vital if Wales are to keep their qualification hopes alive.