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IFA expecting autumn dates for crucial play-offs



Clear signs: Patrick Nelson is predicting a busy autumn

Clear signs: Patrick Nelson is predicting a busy autumn

Clear signs: Patrick Nelson is predicting a busy autumn

The Irish FA are today expecting confirmation that Northern Ireland will face Bosnia & Herzegovina in the Euro 2020 play-off semi-final in October with a potential final at Windsor Park against the Republic of Ireland set for November.

There should also be news from Uefa about the European Super Cup, which was scheduled to be staged in Belfast in 2021. It is possible that Northern Ireland's hosting of the prestigious match between the Champions League and Europa League winners could be moved back until 2022.

Uefa officials are scheduled to have a video conference this morning with all 55 member associations, including the IFA, to discuss a host of issues ranging from European club football to international fixtures.

Ahead of the meeting, the IFA feel Northern Ireland will be involved in two Nations League clashes in September, three internationals in October with the highlight that clash in Bosnia before a possible play-off final decider against either the Republic or Slovakia in Belfast the following month.

The last time Steven Davis and co played for Northern Ireland was last November when they lost 6-1 to Germany in a Euro 2020 qualifier in what turned out to be Michael O'Neill's final game in charge.

IFA chief executive Patrick Nelson said: "The messaging from Uefa is they still expect the September, October and November windows to take place.

"They're going to feed in the play-off games in the middle of those, so there is going to be potentially a double-header in September, a triple-header in October and a triple-header in November. It could be when we hear from Uefa that they have had to change it again."

The 2020 Super Cup was set to take place in Porto but reports have suggested the game is now expected to be held in Budapest on September 24.

That could mean Porto staging the 2021 Super Cup, which had been awarded to Belfast. In turn, that may see the Windsor Park encounter delayed for 12 months.

The IFA are looking forward to hearing confirmation from Uefa today regarding the glamour fixture, which last year saw Liverpool beat Chelsea on penalties in Istanbul.

• Bayern Munich celebrated in a near-empty stadium after securing an outstanding eighth successive Bundesliga title.

Robert Lewandowski chested down Jerome Boateng's chipped pass to net the winner against Werder Bremen - and seal the league with two games to spare.

The 1-0 victory was Bayern's 11th straight Bundesliga win and it put them 10 points clear of Borussia Dortmund, who have three games left.

Bayern finished the match with 10 men after Alphonso Davies was sent off for two yellow-card offences.

Belfast Telegraph