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NEW NAME ADDED Qatar are added to Ireland's World Cup qualifying group as dates are confirmed for 2021

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Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny. Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Stephen Kenny's Ireland will play two matches against World Cup hosts Qatar, as the dates were confirmed for a qualifying group that will also include clashes with European champions Portugal.

Qatar will play their ‘home’ matches in Europe and as hosts have already qualified for the 2022 tournament, so their results will not count towards qualification.

“UEFA has invited the Qatar national team – the reigning champions of Asia – to prepare for the FIFA World Cup 2022,” UEFA said.

“Qatar will join Group A, alongside Portugal, Serbia, Republic of Ireland, Luxembourg and Azerbaijan.”

Qatar won their first Asian Cup title in 2019 by beating Japan in the final and are No. 59 in the FIFA world rankings.

Ahead of Euro 2016, France were the first host nation to take part in a European Championship qualification phase, with their group-stage contests serving as friendlies with no points awarded.

REPUBLIC OF IRELAND FIXTURES

GROUP A EUROPEAN QUALIFYING - 2022 FIFA WORLD CUP

March 2021

Wednesday, 24th – Serbia away

Saturday, 27th – Luxembourg home

Tuesday, 30th – Qatar home, non-competitive

September 2021

Wednesday, 1st – Portugal away

Saturday, 4th – Azerbaijan home

Tuesday, 7th – Serbia home

October

Saturday, 9th – Azerbaijan away

Tuesday, 12th – Qatar away, non-competitive (game to be played in Europe)

November

Thursday, 11th – Portugal home

Sunday, 14th – Luxembourg away

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