Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny has welcomed UEFA’s announcement today of confirmed dates for the UEFA Nations League Group B and EURO 2020 play-off semi-final fixtures.
A meeting of the UEFA ExCo in Nyon confirmed that Stephen’s first game in charge will be away to Bulgaria on Thursday, September 3rd, with Finland at the Aviva Stadium for his home debut on Sunday, September 6th.
Ireland will travel to Bratislava for the EURO 2020 play-off semi-final against Slovakia on Thursday, October 8th with UEFA Nations League games to follow against Wales, at the Aviva Stadium, and away to Finland.
If Ireland qualify, the EURO 2020 play-off final will be played on November 12th, away to Bosnia & Herzegovina or Northern Ireland. UEFA Nations League games will then follow with a visit to Wales and a home game against Bulgaria. Dates for the October and November games in the Nations League are being finalized by UEFA.
Speaking to FAI.ie, the Ireland manager said: “It is good to have clarity now in relation to the forthcoming games in the UEFA Nations League and the EURO 2020 play-offs.
“Bulgaria away and Finland, at home, will be our first two fixtures in the new international season and these UEFA Nations League games are very important games in terms of World Cup rankings and potential play-offs and also as preparation for the EURO 2020 Play-Off against Slovakia in October.
“I am also pleased that we will get two competitive games in September to help us in our preparations before the Play-Off against Slovakia in the first game the following month.”
Looking ahead to the three games in October, two of them away from home, Stephen added: “It is unique to have three internationals in one window – and two of them away – but our main focus in October will be on that Slovakia game.
“As a coaching staff, we have already been planning for all the games later this year and now that we have definite dates for all the fixtures, we can plan with more detail.”