Two nights in November: Ireland's potential play-off opponents

Two nights in November: Ireland's potential play-off opponents

But 17 teams are resting easy and looking forward to the festival of football that will begin in Russia on June 14 next year. Currently ranked seventh at the moment (11 October) in the FIFA World Rankings, you'd wonder why Irish fans would rather see the Swiss instead of the bottom two.

This was James McClean, footballer, the teetotal fitness freak who goes for early morning runs on his own at the Irish team hotel, Martin O'Neill's goalscoring stamina man.

With nine wins from nine before they travelled to Portugal for the group's final game, they have certainly shown their intent in this qualifying campaign. The club had put out an appeal for opposition.

Something tells us Robbie Savage might regret what he said during his recent visit to Ireland.

. He will be booed.

Switzerland came in second place in the poll with 28% of the vote.

"I couldn't call it. I would have to talk to our doctor about it, and then speak to Everton".

That day at Goodison Park McClean could have chosen to follow Sunderland team-mate John O'Shea, or Everton's Seamus Coleman, now McClean's Irish captain, who both wore poppy-embroidered jerseys.

Bale led a delegation of senior players trying to convince the Wales boss into rethinking his vow to step down after their World Cup agony. "He hasn't played for some time and the play-offs are just around the corner".

The Croats were one of the stories at France 98 where they finished third in their first appearance at a World Cup finals.

The view of the pitch from the front row of the press box was slightly obscured by the section of Ireland supporters on their feet in front of us.

O'Neill is the best manager Ireland has had in quite some time, Trapattoni may have brought the team to Euro 2012 but the performances were as grim as they come. It would be seen as an act of disrespect to those people; to my people'.

"If you ask any manager after a defeat, you want to be as far away from it as you can", Coleman said when reminded of that statement. He's a hero and then zero in an eyeblink or vice versa. It was a gamble by the FAI, I'm in no doubt about that.

It was the volume, the public display, which challenged most.

He, too, comes from Derry/Londonderry, as does Darron Gibson, who followed a similar route. Less than two months later, Irish fans got to see them up close and personal in a Euro 2000 qualifier.