At this stage some of the Republic of Ireland fans feel they still have a chance of topping Group 8 but most of them would gladly settle for a Play-Off place. However, not everyone is aware that even a second place finish may not be enough to secure a Play-Off spot. New to the World Cup qualification process is the Play-Off table. Allow me to attempt to clear it up.
Extracting revenge will not be the most important incentive for Ireland on Saturday evening. Below is the standings of the teams currently positioned 2nd in their respective groups. The team placed at the bottom of the group when the dust settles will miss out on a Play-Off game completely. Add to the mixture that games against the team that finishes bottom of the group aren’t counted in the points tally and you have yourself a right mess to say the least (me thinks it’s time those Georgia jerseys are bought). This new method of qualification means that Ireland must now hope that their second placed counterparts drop as many points as possible, including neighbours over the border who are one of five teams stuck on 7 points. Croatia will still have their work cut out as they’ve played one game more than the four teams below them having beaten Andorra twice. Bottom by goal difference, Macedonia have played one game more than the Irish but let it be known Trap, you may need to plan for more than settling for second place.
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