Ireland Get France In Play-Off`s


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Republic of Ireland to face France in play-offs
Monday, 19 October 2009

The Republic of Ireland will meet France in the World Cup play-offs after the draw was made at FIFA headquarters in Zurich this afternoon.

The two legs will be played on Saturday, 14 November and Wednesday, 18 November, with the Republic at home for the first leg.

Manager Giovanni Trapattoni, who did not attend the draw, had expressed a strong desire to play the first leg of the play-off away from home.

In the other play-offs, Portugal will play Bosnia-Herzegovina, Greece will face Ukraine and Russia take on Slovenia.

Trapattoni had criticised FIFA for seeding the play-offs - the Republic, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Ukraine and Slovenia were all unseeded meaning they could not play each other.

The Republic, who last played in the finals in 2002, had hoped for an easier fixture against Greece but in the draw in Zurich, Everton's South African midfielder Steven Pienaar drew them first out of the hat against the French.

Trapattoni at least can feel relieved that his side do not have to play Russia on the artificial pitch at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium.

Draw for the European World Cup play-offs:

Republic of Ireland v France
Portugal v Bosnia-Herzegovina
Greece v Ukraine
Russia v Slovenia

The Republic of Ireland are 11-5 to qualify for the finals in South Africa with Paddy Power, while France are the raging hot favourites at 1-3.