Following today’s draw for the qualifying stages, Ireland is in Group B of the European Championships. The country will play against Russia, Slovakia, FYR Macedonia, Armenia, and Andorra, according to RTE.

Former Ireland international player Ray Houghton was optimistic after the draw. “I'm delighted,” he told RTE. “The other top seeds are further ahead of us but Russia are certainly beatable.

“I actually think we can win it,” he added, “I certainly believe the number one spot is there for the taking.”

Northern Ireland face some tough challenges. They are Group C along with world champions Italy. The group also has Serbia, Slovenia, Estonia and the Faroe Islands.

England are in Group G with Wales, Switzerland, Bulgaria and Montenegro, and Germany is in Group A.