The Republic of Ireland will begin their quest to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia with an away game against Serbia on the 5th of September 2016.
It will be the first of three away ties in their first four games with trips to Moldova and Austria also scheduled to take place in October and November next year.
The trips to hostile atmospheres in Belgrade and Chisinau will provide challenges to the Irish, while second seeds Austria will complete a difficult start to the campaign. If the management team is still in place by September next year, they will be intent on delivering early results away from home or face being out of contention for qualification by early 2017 when Gareth Bale and Wales travel to Dublin.
Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane currently remain under pressure as Ireland appear unlikely to qualify for Euro 2016 in France next summer after a disappointing home draw to Scotland while tough fixtures remain against Poland away and Germany at home.
The release of the fixtures for Ireland’s Group D follows on from the World Cup draw which took place yesterday in St. Petersburg in Russia.
Martin O’Neill’s men received a reasonable draw when drawing surprise top seeds Wales along with second seeds Austria and third seeds Serbia. Heavyweights such as World Champions Germany and European Champions Spain were avoided in pot one while O’Neill will be satisfied on missing out on France and Italy from pot two.
With four of the last six games set to take place at the Aviva Stadium, Ireland will be hopeful of finishing with a flourish on the way to Russia 2018. The side face a potential crunch tie away to Wales in the last game of the group on the 9th of October 2017.
The order of fixtures in the European qualifying groups was decided by UEFA. This replaced the old system where they were negotiated between the Associations involved in the respective fixtures.
|The Republic of Ireland’s fixtures are as follows:2016
Monday September 5: Serbia away
Thursday October 6: Georgia home
Sunday October 9: Moldova away
Saturday November 12: Austria away
Friday March 24: Wales home
Sunday June 11: Austria home
Saturday September 2: Georgia away
Tuesday September 5: Serbia home
Friday October 6: Moldova home
Monday October 9: Wales away