Ireland U21s earn second seeding for Euro qualifiers

Jim Crawford’s side usurped Sweden to claim the runners-up spot in their group behind Italy last year
Ireland U21s earn second seeding for Euro qualifiers

Republic of Ireland U21 manager Jim Crawford and Joe Hodge of Republic of Ireland during the UEFA European U21 Championship play-off first leg match between Republic of Ireland and Israel at Tallaght Stadium in Dublin. Photo by Seb Daly/Sportsfile

An upturn in results by Ireland’s U21s has earned them a second seeding in Thursday’s draw for the 2025 European qualifiers.

Jim Crawford’s side usurped Sweden to claim the runners-up spot behind Italy last year but missed out on a place in this summer’s finals in Georgia and Romania in cruel fashion. Evan Ferguson and Joe Hodge, both of whom have played in the Premier League this season, were in the side beaten by Israel in a penalty shootout.

Both are still eligible for the new campaign, though are likely to be on senior duty instead.

The road to Slovakia in 2015 and a first-ever tournament qualification begins with the draw from Nyon, Switzerland bright and early on Thursday morning at 8am Irish time.

Ireland will begin the year on March 22 at Turners Cross with a friendly against Iceland but could open their competitive series later in that window depending on the outcome of the draw.

Arising from promotion to Pot 2 in the draw, the Boys in Green thereby will avoid Croatia, Switzerland, Belgium, Czech Republic, Poland, Ukraine, Sweden or Austria. Russia remained under suspension from Uefa.

Another top two finish must be secured to be in the mix for the finals. The nine group winners and the three best runners-up (not counting results against sixth-placed teams) qualify directly for the final tournament in summer 2025, with the other six runners-up playing off over two legs for the remaining three finals berths in November 2024.


Pot 1: Spain, Portugal, Germany, France, Netherlands, England, Denmark, Italy, Romania 

Pot 2: Croatia, Switzerland, Belgium, Czechia, Poland, Ukraine, Sweden, Austria, Republic of Ireland 

Pot 3: Norway, Greece, Iceland, Slovenia, Israel, Finland, Georgia, Serbia, Scotland 

Pot 4: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Hungary, Türkiye, North Macedonia, Wales, Belarus, Northern Ireland, Albania 

Pot 5: Kosovo, Montenegro, Moldova, Lithuania, Faroe Islands, Cyprus, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, Latvia 

Pot 6: Malta, Armenia, Luxembourg, Andorra, Estonia, Gibraltar, San Marino 2025 U21 EURO qualifying match dates:

Group Fixtures: 

20–28 March 2023, 12–20 June 2023, 4–12 September 2023, 9–17 October 2023, 13–21 November 2023, 18–26 March 2024, 2–10 September 2024, 7–15 October 2024 

Playoffs: 11–19 November 2024  

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