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Ireland's potential Euro 2016 play-off rivals are confirmed

SoccerBy Kevin Palmer
Sweden's Zlatan Ibrahimovic could be lining out against Ireland in the Euro 2016 play-offs
Sweden's Zlatan Ibrahimovic could be lining out against Ireland in the Euro 2016 play-offs

Martin O'Neill and his Republic of Ireland side will not be seeded for the Euro 2016 play-off draw - but there is one team they will be hoping to be draw against on Sunday.

A night of high drama in the final round of Euro 2016 qualifiers saw Holland make a predictably humiliating exit from the tournament, after they lost 3-2 at home to Czech Republic to finish fourth in Group A.

Meanwhile, Turkey snatched a dramatic late winner to beat Iceland and seal the one automatic spot up for grabs for the best third place finisher in a competition that will also feature Croatia, who leapfrogged Norway to qualify directly from Group H.

Yet Irish fans were focused on who might be thrown in front of O'Neill's men for the two-leg play-off tie next month and here is your sundayworld.com guide to their potential rivals.

EURO 2016 PLAY-OFFS 

Seeded teams: Ukraine, Sweden, Hungary, Bosnia & Herzegovina.

Unseeded teams: Republic of Ireland, Denmark, Norway, Slovenia.

UKRAINE 

Coach: Mykhaylo Fomenko

Star turn: Yevhen Konoplyanka (below)

Ukraine would present a difficult challenge for Ireland to overcome, especially away from home.

Sevilla's Yevhen Konoplyanka, who was strongly linked with a move to Liverpool last year, is a star turn and the threat of Dynamo Kiev striker Andriy Yarmolenko would also concern Ireland. 

Verdict: Ireland would be second favourites to beat Ukraine, but they may not be the worst opponents that we might face.

SWEDEN

Coach: Erik Hamren

Star turn: Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Ireland have recent experience of clashes against the Swedes as they were our chief rivals in the last World Cup qualifying campaign, with a battling 0-0 away from home backed up by a 2-1 home defeat that all-but ended qualification hopes for Giovanni Trapattoni's side. 

Sweden have struggled to hit top form in their Euro 2016 qualifiers, drawing too many games and suffering a heavy 4-1 home defeat against Austria. As with every team in the play-offs they have their weaknesses.

Verdict: The Ibrahimovic factor will unsettle Ireland, but we should have nothing to fear if we are off to Scandinavia next month.

HUNGARY

Coach: Bernd Storck

Star turn: Tamas Priskin

Okay, we all want to be drawn against Hungary in the Euro 2016 play-offs.

The side that were denied automatic qualification as the best third place finisher by Turkey's late winner on Tuesday night will be as frustrated to be in the play-offs as Ireland and they could be unsettled by a raucous Dublin crowd. Finishing third behind Northern Ireland and Romania is hardly a triumph worth shouting about.

Verdict: Can we have Hungary please?

BOSNIA & HERZEGOVINA

Coach: Mehmed Bazdarevic

Star turn: Edin Dzeko

This experienced team of seasoned performers would represent a tough nut for Ireland to crack, with the presence of former Manchester City star Edin Dzeko (below) leading their line giving them star quality.

They finished third in a tough group containing Belgium and Wales and will fancy their chance of emerging through the play-offs.

Verdict: Not unbeatable, but they would pose threats to the Ireland defensive line that will be without the suspended John O'Shea for the first leg of the play-off.

The Euro 2016 play-off draw will take place on Sunday morning, with home advantage not guaranteed for the seeded teams in the second leg of the tie.