World Cup 2002 news
 03/07/03 02:45 EDT
     William Hill

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Ireland facing play-off tension

The Republic of Ireland are facing another play-off even if they overcome Cyprus this weekend. After a fantastic qualifying effort, the Republic are level on points with Portugal.

However, Portugal's goal difference is seven better then Ireland's, and only a miracle would prevent the Portuguese topping the group. A tricky tie with an Asian side looms for the Irish.

The Irish are guaranteed of at least the play-off spot, but with their recent record in play-offs, they would prefer to avoid one at all costs.

In 1998 they lost to Belgium in a World Cup qualifying play-off, and missed Euro 2000 after failing to beat Turkey in another play-off.

However, even with Niall Quinn set to break the Irish goal-scoring record of 20 goals, Ireland will struggle to get the goals they need to hit the top spot.

4th October 2001

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