So it is to be Denmark, with the away leg first and a home second leg at the Aviva Stadium on November 14th which will have the place rocking perhaps like never before.
We have played them 13 times, winning five, losing five and drawing three. We have a similarly down the line record with regard to play-offs for World Cup Finals, beating Iran 2-0 at home and losing 1-0 away in advance of the 2002 World Cup and famously losing out to Thierry Henry eight years later.
Tickets go on sale to Ireland’s 15,000 season ticket holders to bump up their allocation this morning and any remaining tickets will then go on general release later in the week. They are likely to be like hens teeth as there is nothing quite like a do or die game for the side at this level to get the emotions soaring.
There were 36,000 in the old Lansdowne Road for the Iran game 16 years ago. The number that packed Croke Park for the French game in 2009 had climbed to 74,000 as the Aviva Stadium was being redeveloped.
This time the number will split the difference. But the noise and the passion will be equal.
It’s a big windfall financially and spiritually for Irish soccer and looked unlikely in the extreme a few short weeks ago.
The team and management kept faith though, and the reward is one that will be felt across the country.
In Northern Ireland, the home leg against Switzerland will take place first and likewise the atmosphere at Windsor Park will be hopping. November can at times be a quieter time in Irish sport with the Guinness Series Autumn Internationals standing out like a beacon.
This year they will share the spotlight, and Irish sport is all the stronger for it.
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Image Credits: Inpho / Billy Stickland