Bosnia and Herzegovina stand in Ireland’s way of a place in next summer’s Euro 2016 after the Boys in Green learned their fate on Sunday morning when the draw for next month’s play-off’s were made.
The first leg will be in Sarajevo on Friday 13 November, with the second three days later on Monday 16 November at the Aviva Stadium.
Ireland’s defeat to Poland last Sunday meant the Boys in Green had to settle for a play-off and were unseeded for the draw which took place in Nyon, Switzerland this morning.
Most of the Irish fans were hoping for a kinder draw in the shape on Hungary but it is not the worse draw for Martin O’Neill’s side but they will need a top performance to overcome a tough opponent.
Bosnia finished behind Belgium and Wales in group A and despite early defeats to Israel and Cyprus, they won five of their last six games to book a play-off berth.
Former Man City man Edin Dzeko will be the main threat to the Ireland defence with the striker scoring seven goals in qualifying and the Ireland defence – who will be missing John O’Shea through suspension for the first leg – can keep him quiet, Ireland can win.
It will be only the second and third meetings between the two nations with Ireland coming out on top in a friendly in a 1-0 win in May 2012 through a Shane Long goal, who is doubtful for the play-off’s after suffering an injury in the defeat to Poland.
In the other games, Norway will look to qualify for just their second European Championships when they face Hungary as both sides look to end years of heartbreak.
It has been 15 years since the Norwegians was qualified for a European Championship but it has been a longer baron run for Hungary, who haven’t qualified since 1972.
Euro 2012 co-hosts Ukraine look to reach their second straight European Championship when face Slovenia, who are also looking to qualify for just the second time.
Slovenia finished behind England and Switzerland in their group, as they have to beat the team with the best defence record of all the play-off hopefuls to qualify.
Finally, it will be a Scandinavian derby as Sweden face Denmark in what should be a tightly fought battle between the neighbours.
Denmark’s biggest triumph on Swedish soil was winning Euro 1992, which also saw hosts Sweden reach the highest finish the tournament history but only one of them will be heading to France.
Ukraine v Slovenia (14/17 Nov)
Sweden v Denmark (14/17 Nov)
Bosnia-Herzegovina (13/16 Nov)
Norway v Hungary (12/15 Nov)