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Irish women get clarity on qualifiers

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Republic of Ireland manager Vera Pauw

Republic of Ireland manager Vera Pauw

SPORTSFILE

Republic of Ireland manager Vera Pauw

Vera Pauw’s Ireland side have been told to prepare to finish their European Championship qualifying campaign this year – even though the finals have been pushed back to 2022.

UEFA have communicated the information to teams that were awaiting clarity on the order of play for a campaign that was abruptly paused. Pauw’s side had three games remaining when the Covid-19 crisis brought a halt to their schedule.

They are top of their qualifying group for the finals which were initially scheduled for next summer.

However, they have played a game more than the German side that has won all four of their qualifiers, scoring a total of 31 goals with none conceded.

Their away trip to Germany – which was pencilled in for April – will now take place on September 19. Ireland then face an away date in Ukraine on October 23 before their Group I assignments finish at home to the Germans in Tallaght on December 1.

UEFA are set to provide more specific detail about match operations in due course.

Pauw’s team are attempting to make history by becoming the first Irish senior women’s side to qualify for a major finals.

In addition to the nine group winners, the three best runners-up will also qualify automatically with the other second-placed teams entering a play-off to determine the final competitors for the tournament in England.