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Irish Football > Republic of Ireland Qualifying Campaigns > Euro 2016 Play Off Matches

Ireland's Euro 2016 Play Off Matches Against Bosnia & Herzegovina

Ireland Drawn Against Bosnia & Herzegovina in Euro 2016 Play Offs

Following the final round of Euro 2016 qualifiers Ireland finished in third place in Group D, three points behind Poland and three ahead of Scotland in fourth place. Due to the UEFA national team coefficient rankings, updated after the completion of the qualifying group stage, Ireland went into the eight team play off draw as one of the four un-seeded teams. This meant that Ireland would meet one of the following seeded teams: Bosnia & Herzegovina, Sweden, Ukraine, or Hungary. The draw determined that Ireland would meet top seeds Bosnia & Herzegovina.

Team
P
W
D
L
F
A
Pts
Germany
10
7
1
2
24
9
22
Poland
10
6
3
1
33
10
21
Ireland
10
5
3
2
19
7
18
Scotland
10
4
3
3
22
12
15
Georgia
10
3
0
7
10
16
9
Gibraltar
10
0
0
10
2
56
0

The counter point to being drawn against the top seeded team in the play-offs was that Ireland would play the second leg at home in the Aviva stadium in Dublin. As with most two-legged affairs it is always seen as a benefit to play the home leg second thereby knowing exactly what is required to win the tie. Also in the event that the tie might go to extra time this would be played at home.

There was no amnesty extended for yellow/red cards received during the group stages. This meant that Ireland would be denied the services of John O'Shea and Jonathan Walters for the away leg in Zenica. The Bosnians would be missing Everton's Muhamed Bešic for the first leg also.

Bosnia & Herzegovina's Euro 2016 Qualifying Campaign

Bosnia & Herzegovina lost one more match than did Ireland in the qualifying matches. In their first four matches they lost to Israel and Cyprus, and only managed draws against Wales and Belgium. With just two points from a possible 12 their chances of even making the play-offs looked very remote.

However following a change of manager Bosnia & Herzegovina won five group matches, including a 2-0 win over a Gareth Bale-inspired Wales, with just a single loss to group winners Belgium.

Bosnia Herzegovina Euro 2016
Qualifying Group C
Team
P
W
D
L
F
A
Pts
Belgium
10
7
2
1
24
5
23
Wales
10
6
3
1
11
4
21
Bos & Herz
10
5
2
3
17
12
17
Israel
10
4
1
5
16
14
13
Cyprus
10
4
0
6
16
17
12
Andorra
10
0
0
10
4
36
0

Bosnian Reaction to the Euro 2016 Play Off Draw Against Ireland

If Irish fans were happy - although reaction had been somewhat mixed - to be drawn against Bosnia & Herzegovina in the Euro 2016 play off matches the Bosnian's were equally happy to be drawn against the Irish. Defender Ognjen Vranjes felt that his side had been very fortunate to draw the Irish:

"We were unlucky? I don't think so, it was the Republic of Ireland who were unlucky in the draw. The Irish came the worst off among the unseeded teams because they are up against the most difficult opposition they could have asked for. We showed in our last two group stage qualifiers that we are capable of beating anyone and I don't see why we can't beat Ireland."

"I am not trying to underestimate Ireland but I think Wales have better players than them. Any win in the first leg in Zenica would put us in the driving seat and if Ireland have to come at us in the return leg, we will have plenty of room to hit them on the break."

His colleague 31 year-old Mensur Mujdza, a defender at Freiburg who made eight appearances for the Bosnians during qualifying, was a bit more circumspect: "I think that Ireland play similarly to Wales and their latest result against Germany says enough about their quality. It will not be easy, but it wouldn't be easy against Slovenia, Denmark or Norway either.”

Irish Reaction to Drawing Estonia in the Euro 2016 Play Off Matches

Irish manager Martin O'Neill was somewhat guarded in reaction to being drawn against Bosnia and Herzegovina: "If there is any slight advantage to be had for us it’s that the second game is in Dublin. We need to perform out in Bosnia to make sure that the second game in Dublin means something. We have a chance."

"We have some problems to negotiate with suspensions and who knows what will happen in the next few weeks, injury is always a possibility, but we will go for it and give it everything we've got. We had terrific results against Germany, the draw out in Germany and a home win, because that’s so recent we can draw real confidence from it."

The most humorous reaction award went to Conor Wilson who commented on Twitter: "Seems unfair that everyone else only has to play one team in the playoffs but Ireland have to play two."

Previous Encounters Between the Republic of Ireland and Estonia

Prior to the Euro 2016 play-off draw Ireland and Bosnia & Herzegovina the only meeting had been a friendly match prior to Ireland's participation in the Euro 2012 finals. The Irish football manager at the time was Giovanni Trapattoni and Ireland won 1-0 thanks to a second-half Shane Long strike.

********************

Euro 2016 - 1st Leg Bosnia & Herzegovina v Ireland - 7:45pm 13 Nov '15 in Zenica

Ireland Secure a Draw and Precious Away Goal

On a bizarre night in Zenica Ireland and Bosnia & Herzegovina played the entire second half of the match in a thick fog. For the Irish fans watching the match back home, in Ireland, a lot of the action remained unseen. Robbie Brady's goal in the 83rd minute was a surreal moment as TV viewers only became aware of the goal when Brady, clearly celebrating a goal, emerged from the mist. The reaction of the Irish fans in the stadium confirmed that Ireland had indeed scored a precious away goal. The lead didn't last too long as Edin Džeko grabbed an equaliser for the home team just three minutes later. Nevertheless it was advantage to Ireland, by virtue of the away goal, as the teams headed to Dublin for the second play-off leg.
Bosnia & Herzegovina 1 - 1 Republic of Ireland

Bosnia & Herzegovina: Begovic; Mujdža, Šunjic, Spahic, Zukanovic; Višca, Pjanic, Cocalic, Lulic; Ibiševic, Džeko. Subs: Vranješ for Mujdza (50 mins), Djuric for Visca (73 mins), Hajrovic for Lulic (88 mins)

Republic of Ireland: Randolph (West Ham); Coleman (Everton), Keogh (Derby County), Clark (Aston Villa), Ward (Burnley); McCarthy (Everton), Whelan (Stoke City); Hendrick (Derby County), Hoolahan (Norwich City), Brady (Norwich City); Murphy (Ipswich Town). Subs: McClean (West Brom) for Hoolahan (59 mins), Wilson (Stoke City) for Ward (67 mins), McGeady (Everton) for Brady (86 mins)

Referee: Felix Brych (Germany). Attendance: 11,880

********************

Euro 2016 - 2nd Leg Ireland v Bosnia & Herzegovina- 7:45pm 16 Nov 2015 in Aviva

Jonathan Walters Goals Help Ireland to Qualify for Euro 2016 Finals

After the mist and the inconclusive draw in Zenica, absolute clarity emerged at the Aviva stadium three days later. Following a debatable penalty decision, by Dutch referee Kuipers mid way through the first half, Jonathan Walters stepped up to score his fourth goal of the qualifying campaign. After 70 minutes the same player also managed to get on the end of a Robbie Brady free kick into the Bosnia penalty area. With the deftest of volleys Walters side-footed the ball into Begovic's net in off the post. Encouraged by a vociferous Irish crowd Irish organisation and determination saw off the challenge of a somewhat disappointing Bosnia & Herzegovina challenge to qualify for Euro 2016 in Paris.
Republic of Ireland 2 - 0 Bosnia & Herzegovina

Republic of Ireland: Randolph (West Ham); Coleman (Everton), Keogh (Derby County), Clark (Aston Villa), Brady (Norwich City); McCarthy (Everton), Whelan (Stoke City); Walters (Stoke City), Hoolahan (Norwich City), Hendrick (Derby County). Subs: McClean (West Brom) for Hoolahan and Long (Southampton) for Murphy (both 55 mins), O’Shea (Sunderland) for Whelan (90 mins).

Bosnia & Herzegovina: Begovic; Vranjes, Zukanovic, Spahic , Kolasinac; Medunjanin, Cocalic; Visca, Pjanic, Lulic; Dzeko. Subs: Besic for Cocalic (half-time), Djuric for Medunjanin (69 mins) Ibisevic for Lulic (80 mins)

Referee: Björn Kuipers (NED). Attendance: 50,000

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