World Cup qualifiers: The 17 teams confirmed for Russia 2018

Jueves, 12 Oct, 2017

James McClean's goal for Ireland against Wales in Cardiff on Monday was celebrated in Irish pubs all over the world. Well, it was 22 June last year on a humid night in Lille.

There won't be much international football of note for the Welsh to look forward to next summer, but if the Irish get through the playoffs, it will be party time during the warmer months of 2018 for the Boys in Green. And they can thank France and particularly Ireland for that. Twenty-four hours earlier, the GAA club he once represented with distinction reached their first Cork senior hurling championship final in 14 years.

Maybe, that would leave a sour taste in the Swiss mouth which would follow on into the play-offs.

Typical, Italy, you would say in advance of major tournaments.

Crucially they cannot face each other, or Greece or Sweden, when the draw is made next Tuesday.

Gianluigi Buffon is the sole survivor from the side that won the 2006 World Cup.

Coleman became Wales manager in January 2012 following the death of his great friend Gary Speed. Some in the Northern Ireland set-up thought that was not just unnecessary, it was sudden. Absolutely, every one of them, every single one of them. But I'm delighted to be there.

That's the nature of his job.

Savage, who played under Martin O'Neill at Leicester City, praised the Ireland manager for coming good at the perfect moment. "I was delighted with the result".

He was quick to bring up O'Neill's detractors, who had been criticising him for what had been an inconsistent qualifying campaign.

I wouldn't rule it out with these lads, no matter who they draw.

The Danes famously "came off the beach" and stunned everybody when winning Euro 92. That was the best experience I've had in football. This was all business and full of character.

That day at Goodison Park McClean could have chosen to follow Sunderland team-mate John O'Shea, or Everton's Seamus Coleman, now McClean's Irish captain, who both wore poppy-embroidered jerseys. Mick McCarthy's last game in charge was a 2-1 defeat against Switzerland in a Euro 2004 qualifier in October 2002.

Now he's done again against Wales and that's too often for it to be luck or coincidence. They hosted the tournament in 1954, getting as far as the quarter-finals.

But then things started going our way, this time around it was down to Scotland drawing with Slovenia, last time around it was down to Scotland losing to Georgia.

"This definitely is up there with it".