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Friday 9 December 2016

Given fitness boost for Euro 2016 play-off tie

Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE
Picture credit: David Maher / SPORTSFILE

Shay Given insists he will be fit in time for Ireland's Euro 2016 play-off battles next month against either Sweden, Hungary, Ukraine or Bosnia-Herzegovina.

And Martin O'Neill will hope to get a stroke of luck in Sunday's play-off draw, as happened with our opponents Estonia for Euro 2012, with Hungary now the dream draw for the Republic.

Given, a survivor of play-off games in 1997, 2001, 2009 and 2011, suffered a knee injury in the first half of last week's win over Germany and he had to be replaced by Darren Randolph. He's still being assessed by the medical team at his club, but a source close to the player told The Herald that the 39-year-old will definitely have recovered in time for those play-off dates in mid-November.

The line-up for Sunday's play-off draw was finalised last night, where Turkey skipped the play-offs and qualified automatically as the best of the third-placed teams. Hungary is the draw Ireland will look for as they hope to avoid tricky trips to Ukraine or Bosnia as well as Zlatan Ibrahimovic's Sweden.

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