World Cup qualifiers: The 17 teams confirmed for Russia 2018

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He was delighted too with Ireland's result, which was greeted with the kind of euphoria which is normally reserved for qualification for a major tournament.

Crucially they cannot face each other, or Greece or Sweden, when the draw is made next Tuesday.

Speaking on RTÉ television after last night's win over Wales, Eamon Dunphy was relishing the prospect of James McClean putting it up to Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal, but their 2-0 victory over the Swiss sent them straight through to Russia.

The final round of European qualifiers take place tonight, with Portugal and Switzerland going head to head for an automatic spot.

Duffy, Doyle, Judge, Meyler and Quinn were all called to the set that day to audition for a role in Ireland's summer blockbuster - O̶c̶e̶a̶n̶'̶s̶ O'Neill's 11 - but fast forward 18 months and their respective fates could not be any more different.

'For me to wear a poppy would be as much a gesture of disrespect for the innocent people who lost their lives in the Troubles - and Bloody Sunday especially - as I have in the past been accused of disrespecting the victims of WWI and WWII.

Fans seemed to think that the result completely dismantled Savage's comments.

The play-off path looks like it will be a lot trickier this time, given that Giovani Trapattoni pulled the plum draw when Estonia came out of the hat and O'Neill himself was favoured by fortune when UEFA paired his team with Bosnia Herzegovina.

David Meyler and Stephen Quinn had been named in the centre of midfield. He's a hero and then zero in an eyeblink or vice versa. From the opening few minutes of that game he was barking orders at his teammates and throwing himself into challenges.

But they did protect it and funnily enough, I was confident they would once McClean's shot rattled the net. Pozanan witnessed an emphatic 3-1 win for Croatia in what was a tournament to forget for the Irish.

The former Fulham and Real Sociedad boss endured a tough start to his reign but turned around Wales' fortunes in dramatic fashion at Euro 2016.

While my jacket may be stained by bird shit today, if that's the kind of luck that's needed to get the Boys in Green to Russia, I'd gladly have wiped the arse of every seagull in Cardiff. He posed the question, what would these folks be saying tonight? It's great to see them back at the top again.

Granit Xhaka and Ricardo Rodriguez were part of the Swiss side that won the U17 World Cup and, along with others from that side, are now mainstays in this senior team.