Northern Ireland to avoid Republic
Published 22/12/2009 | 14:09
Northern Ireland have escaped potential battles with the Republic of Ireland and Scotland when the Euro 2012 qualifiers kick off in September.
Nigel Worthington’s men, who failed to qualify for Euro 2008 after a final day defeat to eventual winners Spain, have been placed in Pool 3 with the Republic and Scots while England are seeded in Pool 1 for the draw which will take place in Warsaw on February 7.
The 51 teams will be drawn into nine groups; six groups of six teams and three groups of five teams.
The nine group winners and the best runners-up will qualify for the final tournament and join hosts Poland and Ukraine. The eight remaining runners-up will contest home and away play-off matches in November, 2011.
POT 1: Spain, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, England, Croatia, Portugal, France, Russia.
POT 2: Greece, Czech Republic, Sweden, Switzerland, Serbia, Turkey, Denmark, Slovakia, Romania.
POT 3: Israel, Bulgaria, Finland, Norway, Republic of Ireland, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Austria, Bosnia-Herzegovina.
POT 4: Slovenia, Latvia, Hungary, Lithuania, Belarus, Belgium, Wales, F.Y.R. Macedonia, Cyprus.
POT 5: Montenegro, Albania, Estonia, Georgia, Moldova, Iceland, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Liechtenstein.
POT 6: Azerbaijan, Luxembourg, Malta, Faroe Islands, Andorra, San Marino.