Heroic Ireland have qualified for the World Cup. What happens next?

While Donegal woman Amber Barrett's poignant celebration both moved and exhilarated the nation, thoughts have quickly turned to what happens next
Heroic Ireland have qualified for the World Cup. What happens next?

HEROIC: Ireland’s Amber Barrett celebrates scoring Ireland's goal with teammates as she gestures to the black armband worn in memory of those affected by the tragedy in Creeslough in Co. Donegal. Pic: INPHO/Ryan Byrne

That was quite the night, wasn't it? Amber Barrett's 72nd minute strike has secured Ireland their place at a first ever women’s World Cup.

It was a heroic and battling display by Ireland as they put their bodies on the line time after time to defend their lead.

While Donegal woman Barrett's poignant celebration both moved and exhilarated the nation, thoughts have quickly turned to what happens next.

So far we know 29 of the 32 teams that will take part in the 2023 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.

The last three slots will be determined by the dreaded intercontinental play-off, which Ireland avoided on Tuesday night.

When will the World Cup draw take place?

The draw is slated for October 23 in the Aotea Centre in Auckland, New Zealand (7.30am, Irish time).

What pot are Ireland in?

Talk of pots may bring back traumatic memories for Ireland fans after last Sunday's horror draw for the Ireland men's team. But once you get to the big one it doesn't really matter. Ireland will be in Pot 3 for the draw.

Pot 1: New Zealand (Co-hosts), Australia (Co-hosts), United States, Germany, Sweden, England, France, Netherlands.

Pot 2: Canada, Spain, Brazil, Japan, Norway, Italy, China, Denmark.

Pot 3: South Korea, Switzerland, Colombia, Republic of Ireland, Argentina, Vietnam, Costa Rica, Jamaica.

Pot 4: Nigeria, Philippines, South Africa, Morocco, Zambia, Intercontinental play-off winner 1, Intercontinental play-off winner 2, Intercontinental play-off winner 3.

Who are the teams in the intercontinental play-off?

Ireland's win last night means Portugal are the European team who must head for the intercontinental play-off in New Zealand after their surprise win over Iceland. 

They will be joined by Chinese Taipei, Thailand, Cameroon, Senegal, Haiti, Panama, Paraguay, Chile, and Papua New Guinea.

Portugal will be the favourites to advance, as Ireland would have been. Best to get it over with early, however, as I'm sure you'll agree.

Where will the matches take place?

Vera Pauw's charges will be expecting plenty of support, not only from the many thousands of Irish fans who will travel over, but also from the considerable number of Irish already there.

The World Cup venues are divided between the two host nations. Five stadiums will host games in Australia, four in New Zealand.

Two of the venues are in Sydney, Stadium Australia which has a capacity of 83,500 and Sydney Football Stadium which has a capacity of 42,500. The other Australian venues are in Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth, and Adelaide.

The New Zealand venues are Eden Park in Auckland, as well as stadiums in Wellington, Dunedin, and Hamilton.

Where can those of us not travelling watch the games?

RTÉ and TG4 will share the rights to broadcast the tournament in Ireland, as they did for the 2019 World Cup. 

The rights in the UK will be shared between ITV and the BBC. 

The success of the Euros this summer mean that coverage of women's football is going from strength to strength. 

When does the tournament kick off?

The opening game of the tournament will see co-hosts New Zealand in action and will take place on Thursday July 20, 2023. 

The games come thick and fast after that with the final slated for Sunday August 20, 2023 at Stadium Australia in Sydney. 

So, there you have it. All you really need to know, to be honest, is that there's a World Cup on and Ireland are in it. And it's bloody marvellous.

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