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Ireland get Belgium, Italy and Sweden in Euro 2016 draw

SoccerBy Kevin Palmer
Martin O'Neill learns Ireland's fate
Martin O'Neill learns Ireland's fate

The Republic of Ireland will square off against Belgium, Italy and Sweden in the Euro 2016 finals, after a nightmare draw handed Martin O'Neill's side a daunting task next summer.

While Ireland avoided dates with Euro 2016 favourites Spain and Germany, the trio of teams they have been placed alongside in Group E represents among the trickiest draws they could have faced.

Belgium are strongly fancied to make progress in the competition next summer and are currently rated as the world's top team in the FIFA rankings. 

Italy are old foes from the disastrous Euro 2012 finals appearance, with Antonio Conte's men dark horses to go a long way in the competition next summer.

Meanwhile, Sweden are one of the toughest sides Ireland could have draw from pot three, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic a major threat to the Irish hopes in what is a devilish draw.

Ireland's odds to make it into the second phase of the competition drifted after the draw was confirmed, with O'Neill's men now among the rank outsiders to make it through to the last-16 of the 24-team tournament.

Northern Ireland face an equally daunting task as they head into the Euro 2016 finals, with Germany, Poland and Ukraine providing them with a daunting challenge.

England were thrown into the same group as Wales, with Russia and Slovakia making up a group that may give two of the British sides a real chance to progress.

Here is the full Euro 2016 draw: