Here's who Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland can face in the World Cup playoff draw 9 months ago

Here's who Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland can face in the World Cup playoff draw

The final step on the road to Russia.

Given the fact that the Irish supports lit up the European Championships in France, both Northern Ireland the Republic will be hoping to keep the party going next summer when the World Cup kicks-off on June 14th in Moscow.

To be honest, very few sides have been as impressive as Michael O'Neill's men throughout qualification. Prior to their defeat by Germany at Windsor Park, Northern Ireland had won five successive qualifying games. In fact, the defeat to the world champions was their first in a competitive home match since they lost 4-2 to Portugal in September 2013.

In fact, during this impressive streak, Northern Ireland also kept five clean sheets in a row. It goes without saying that a trip to Belfast isn't an easy proposition for anyone.

As for Martin O'Neill's men, they've had a few bumps on the road to Russia,  but their World Cup dream is very much alive after James McClean's thunderous strike gave them the crucial win against Wales.

Unlike Northern Ireland, the Republic have been poor in front of their own supporters - they only picked up two points against Wales, Austria, and Serbia in Dublin - but they've been magnificent on the road collecting seven points against the same opposition.

Regarding the seeding, the Republic of Ireland won’t be one of the four seeded teams due to their Fifa ranking while Northern Ireland's failure to beat Norway in their final qualifier will also mean that they'll be unseeded.


Here are the sides they could face.

Seeded teams: Italy, Croatia, Denmark, Switzerland.

Unseeded teams: Sweden, Northern Ireland, Republic of Ireland, Greece.

The playoff draw will take place next Tuesday (October 17th) at Fifa headquarters in Zurich and it's expected to begin at 1pm.

The first legs are expected to take place over Thursday 9th -11th  November with the second legs on Sunday 12th - 14th.