Ireland draw Portugal and Serbia in World Cup qualifying group

Ireland Draw Portugal And Serbia In World Cup Qualifying Group
Stephen Kenny's side will face European champions Portugal in World Cup qualification.
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James Cox

The Republic of Ireland will go up against European champions Portugal along with Serbia, Luxembourg and Azerbaijan in their bid to qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Ireland were drawn in Group A at FIFA HQ in Zurich this evening.


It is a very tough draw for Stephen Kenny's side, who managed to avoid the likes of world champions France, Belgium and England.

However, Portugal are ranked fifth in the world and Ireland may well find themselves in a battle with Serbia for second place in the group and a play-off place.

Serbia are ranked 30th in the world, 12 places ahead of Ireland (42nd).

Like Ireland, Serbia missed out on qualification for the delayed 2020 European Championship.

While Ireland lost a play-off semi-final clash to Slovakia, Serbia got to the final qualification round where they lost on penalties to Scotland.

Serbia's standout players include strikers Luka Jovic of Real Madrid and Fulham's Aleksandar Mitrović, Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinković-Savić and Ajax midfielder Dušan Tadić.

Meanwhile, the Portuguese need no introduction, counting Cristiano Ronaldo and Bruno Fernandes among a host of stars.

Luxembourg are ranked 98th in the world and Azerbaijan are the lowest ranked team in the group (109th).

Ireland faced Denmark and Wales in the last qualifying campaign and the UEFA Nations League but they avoided both countries this time, something the Welsh FA commented on.

Northern Ireland also received a tough draw in Group C. They will face Italy, Switzerland, Bulgaria and Lithuania.

England were drawn in Group I with Poland, Hungary, Albania, Andorra and San Marino.

The European qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup will start in March 2021.


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