Great news for new Irish soccer manager Martin O’Neill has the year 2013 comes to a close. UEFA have decided on the seeding for the 2016 European Championship to be held in France.Ireland will go into pot two, which opens the door for a real possibility of qualification.
As we know UEFA have increased the number to qualify from 16 to 24,the proof of an ever growing Europe as a continent.It gives the Irish a huge chance to make it to, back to back Euro finals.53 nations will go into the hat for the draw in February 2014.There will be nine groups,and the top two in each group will qualify automatically.The best third team of all nine groups will also get through.Leaving the remaining eight third place teams to fight it out in the play offs.
So O’Neill now has a great opportunity to take the Irish to the finals.The job in which himself and Roy Keane were brought in to do by the FAI. The Irish boss will be delighted with the news of the seeding and is expected to attend the draw in Nice in February. UEFA have also announced they will spread the qualifying games over a longer weekend than usual.The games will take place from Thursday through to the following Tuesday,with ten games each day,compared to playing all on the one night.This in my opinion is of real benefit to the real football fan.It will give us all the chance to watch more games and not miss out on the big games because we are glued to our own TV,s watching our own sides.
I myself, feel the door is now open for Martin to lead Ireland into the finals.He has at least another nine months before he has a competitive match,which I think will be great for O’Neill and his team.In that time he will be able to get to know his team,the system he wants to play and most importantly of all, get any new players in that he feels are up to the task.All in all its great news for the Irish, as if the truth be told, if we had to have gone into pot three, we could have been in danger of not getting through as one of the top two.I look forward now to the draw and let us all get ourselves ready for an Irish party in France.Hopefully we can make it and put the memories of Henry,s handball in Paris well and truly in the past.Roll on France 2016.