Vera Pauw hopes supporters can return to Tallaght to boost historic World Cup bid as fixtures finalised

Ireland boss Vera Pauw is cautiously optimistic that supporters will be back in Tallaght to cheer on her side’s World Cup 2023 qualification bid.

he qualification schedule has belatedly been finalised and after a long trek to Georgia to open their campaign, Pauw’s side will have their first home game against top seeds Sweden on October 21st.

“It’s something we dare to dream about,” said Pauw last month about the prospect of welcoming fans back through the turnstiles.

“How fantastic that would be. It’s so important to have our fans and hopefully we can all push things forward and get the crowds back in Tallaght.”

Ireland will not be expected to top the group and qualify automatically but, after missing out on the Euro play-offs when pipped by Ukraine in 2020, they will eye up a second-placed finish; the best third-placed side can also advance through a convoluted system.

“The dream is to qualify. The winner goes straight through but there is also a complicated system for the play-offs. But we know exactly what we need to do.

“It’s not a bad draw, it could be better but we have Sweden who are a very strong team, and qualified for the Olympics as one of the best three in Europe.”

September 17th is the date when their 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup Qualifying campaign begins.

Pauw’s squad will be away to Georgia in that opening fixture in Group A, while their first home game will be against top seeds Sweden on October 21st.

Ireland will also take on Finland and Slovakia as they target qualification to the finals tournament in Australia & New Zealand – which would be their first foray into a major tournament.

The Qualifying Draw was made last Friday with the following format revealed: The winners of the nine qualifying groups will progress directly to the finals in Australia and New Zealand.

The group runners-up take part in the UEFA play-offs in October 2022.

In the play-offs, the three best runners-up will be seeded directly to round 2 of the play-offs. The six remaining runners-up contest three single-leg play-offs in round 1.

The three winners from round 1 and the three teams seeded directly to round 2 will then compete in single-leg play-offs determined by a draw.

The two play-off winners with the highest ranking (based on results in the qualifying group stage and round 2 play-offs) will qualify for the finals.

The remaining play-off winner will compete in the inter-confederation play-offs in Australia and New Zealand.

2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup Qualifying Fixtures – Group A
17 September, 2021: Georgia v Republic of Ireland
21 October, 2021: Republic of Ireland v Sweden
26 October, 2021: Finland v Republic of Ireland
25 November, 2021: Republic of Ireland v Slovakia
30 November, 2021: Republic of Ireland v Georgia
12 April, 2022: Sweden v Republic of Ireland
1 September, 2022: Republic of Ireland v Finland
6 September, 2022: Slovakia v Republic of Ireland

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