IRELAND’S JOURNEY TO the 2014 World Cup will begin not with a single step, but with a 10,000-kilometre round trip to the city of Astana.
Games against the minnows of Kazakhstan, currently ranked 129th in the world, will book-end Ireland’s qualification campaign which begins on 7 September 2012.
But the Group C fixture list, confirmed by the FAI following meetings in Frankfurt yesterday and today, hasn’t been quite as kind to Ireland for the remainder of the campaign.
A visit to top seeds and probable group toppers Germany has been fixed as the penultimate game, a trip which Ireland could find themselves needing points from if they are to make the pot for the finals in Brazil.
Giovanni Trapattoni — who is still waiting on a contract that would see him remain on as manager for the campaign — welcomed the fixture list this morning.
“This is a good fixture schedule for our team with a good balance to the matches,” Trapattoni said.
“We finish the campaign at home and start with a single away match against Kazakhstan which was important given the long distances involved.
I am also happy with the balance obtained in the double headers and the timing of what we would expect to be some of the key matches in the group.
World Cup 2014 Qualifying – Group C
- 7 September 2012: Kazakhstan v Republic of Ireland
- 12 October 2012: Republic of Ireland v Germany
- 16 October 2012: Faroe Islands v Republic of Ireland
- 22 March 2013: Sweden v Republic of Ireland
- 26 March 2013: Republic of Ireland v Austria
- 7 June 2013: Republic of Ireland v Faroe Islands
- 6 September 2013: Republic of Ireland v Sweden
- 10 September 2013: Austria v Republic of Ireland
- 11 October 2013: Germany v Republic of Ireland
- 15 October 2013: Republic of Ireland v Kazakhstan