Despite a miserable failure to reach Brazil for the 2014 World Cup finals, Ireland’s ranking among Uefa-member national teams will be upgraded one level because of impressive progress in Giovanni Trapattoni’s first two campaigns in charge.
Uefa’s classification for seeding purposes is published every second year in November. The 2013 standings will take account of results in the 2010 World Cup qualifying and tournament stages (20%), Euro 2012 qualifying and tournament stages (40%), and the 2014 World Cup qualifying competition (40%).
Romania’s defeat by Greece in the first leg of their World Cup play-off tie last Friday opened the door for Ireland to hold on to the last place in Pot 2, which will also contain the likes of Denmark, Switzerland, Belgium and the Czech Republic.
Trapattoni, who described himself as “a lucky general“, enjoyed one last slice of good fortune towards the end of his reign. Serbia, Turkey, Slovenia, Norway and Slovakia all failed to take advantage of Ireland’s implosion and will be consigned to Pot 3, which Ireland occupied four years ago in the draw for the Euro 2012 qualifying competition.
Uefa has not yet announced the format of the qualifying phase, from which 23 teams will join host nation France in the finals.
Projected seedings for Euro 2016 qualifying draw
Pot 1: Spain, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, England, Greece, Portugal, Russia, Bosnia & Herzegovina*
Pot 2: Ukraine*, Sweden*, Croatia*, Denmark, Switzerland, Belgium, Czech Republic, Hungary, Republic of Ireland
Pot 3: Serbia, Turkey, Slovenia, Israel, Norway, Slovakia, Romania, Austria, Montenegro
Pot 4: Armenia, Poland, Scotland, Finland, Latvia, Wales, Bulgaria, Estonia, Iceland
Pot 5: Belarus, Northern Ireland, Albania, Lithuania, Moldova, Macedonia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Cyprus
Pot 6: Luxembourg, Kazakhstan, Liechtenstein, Faroe Islands, Malta, Andorra, San Marino, Gibraltar.
* Seeding may change after World Cup play-off second leg matches tomorrow night.