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John Brewin profile picture  By John Brewin

Ireland's dogged, collective approach makes them team to fear in WC playoff

Martin O'Neill has helped create a strong, determined Ireland squad that fights hard for one another.

There is a terrible beauty about Martin O'Neill's Ireland team. Though frequently terrible to watch, they have proved capable of pulling off beautiful results.

Monday's 1-0 victory in Cardiff "put a sword through the heart of the Welsh dragon," in the choice words of RTE commentator George Hamilton, and took Ireland into the World Cup playoffs. As Wales fans trudged tearfully away into the night, O'Neill and assistant Roy Keane took a leisurely, cheerful walk onto the Cardiff City Stadium pitch,...

ESPN FC  By Dale Johnson

World Cup qualifying playoffs in Europe: All you need to know

With the playoff teams set in Europe, the FC crew assess which unseeded side has the best chance of reaching the World Cup.

The final four places at the World Cup finals from Europe will be decided via four playoffs.

Who has qualified for the playoffs?

Eight nations are into the playoffs, ranked based on the October 2017 FIFA Ranking.

Seeded: Switzerland, Italy, Croatia, Denmark
Unseeded: Northern Ireland, Sweden, Republic of Ireland, Greece

Who can play each other?

Switzerland, Italy, Croatia and Denmark will be the top-ranked teams, and thus seeded. They were also the four runners-up who had the best record in group...

 By PA Sport

Rep. of Ireland's James McClean on Wales win: 'There's no better feeling'

Ireland are through to the qualifying playoff thanks to a goal in Cardiff from James McClean, which also eliminated Wales.

Jeff Hendrick praised the spirit shown by the Republic of Ireland as they claimed second spot in Group D with a smash-and-grab raid against Wales, while goal scorer James McClean hailed an "unbelievable" moment in Cardiff.

McClean scored the only goal of the game in the 57th minute as Martin O'Neill's men became the first side to win on Welsh soil in four years, bagging themselves a World Cup playoff place in the process.

Burnley midfielder Hendrick told Sky Sports: "It was hard work, we knew it...

John Brewin profile picture  By John Brewin

Ireland beat Gareth Bale-less Wales, book World Cup playoff spot

Republic of Ireland players celebrate their lone goal against Wales.
Ireland grabbed a victory in Cardiff to keep their World Cup dreams alive at Wales' expense.

CARDIFF, Wales -- Three points from a dramatic game in Group D as Ireland eliminated Wales from playoff contention in World Cup qualifying.

1. McClean cracker puts Ireland in the playoffs

Wales' wait goes on. They have not played at a World Cup finals since 1958 and thanks to Monday's 1-0 defeat, Ireland will take their place in the playoffs instead, their hopes of making Russia their first finals since 2002 still very much alive. James McClean's 57th minute goal, a singular moment of quality...

ESPN FC  By ESPN staff

McClean goal lifts Rep. of Ireland into playoff; Wales eliminated

WalesWales
Republic of IrelandRepublic of Ireland
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1
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Ireland are through to the qualifying playoff thanks to a goal in Cardiff from James McClean, which also eliminated Wales.

James McClean sent the Republic of Ireland into a World Cup playoff as Wales' hopes of qualification were ended by a 1-0 defeat in Cardiff.

Wales lost for only the second time in 22 qualifiers as the absence of star man Gareth Bale came back to haunt them.

The decisive moment came in the 57th minute when Wales skipper Ashley Williams lost possession on the edge of his penalty area and Jeff Hendrick crossed for McClean to slam home his fourth goal of the campaign.

Wales themselves needed a victory...