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Page last updated at 12:14 GMT, Monday, 19 October 2009 13:14 UK

Republic face France in play-offs

Stephen Carr and Thierry Henry
Henry (right) scored against Ireland last time they met in 2005

The Republic of Ireland will have to beat former World Cup winners France over two legs if they are to make it to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Giovanni Trapattoni's side drew the 1998 champions for the play-offs to be played on 14 and 18 November and will play at home first.

Hopes of seeing Cristiano Ronaldo at the finals were boosted after Portugal drew Bosnia-Hercegovina.

Elsewhere, Greece face Ukraine while Russia come up against Slovenia.

Portugal aside, France are perhaps the toughest opponents the Republic could have drawn and it will further anger players and fans who felt aggrieved at Fifa's late decision to seed the play-offs.

But Football Association of Ireland chief executive John Delaney said Trapattoni would not be fazed by facing a team which reached the final at the last World Cup, in Germany.

"I've spoken to the manager, Giovanni Trapattoni, he's quite relaxed about it," Delaney said.

"We don't lose games on many goals, we don't win games on many goals. I wouldn't expect that pattern to change."


Raymond Domenech's France, ranked ninth in the world, just missed out on automatic qualification for South Africa, finishing one point behind Group Seven winners Serbia and losing only once.

Trapattoni's team, meanwhile, finished second in Group Eight behind Italy.

Domenech said he would be well informed about his opponents, ranked 34th, ahead of the ties next month.

"The France players know them well from having played either with or against them," he said. "There won't be any surprises. We know what's coming.

"They're a team who have not lost in qualifying, who drew with Italy in their last game after conceding a late goal. We know they're tough, but so are we."

The two sides last met in the 2006 World Cup qualifying stages, sharing a 0-0 draw in Paris, while a Thierry Henry goal was the difference between the two sides in Ireland.

Ireland failed to qualify for the World Cup in Germany while France eventually lost the final to Italy on penalties.

World Cup play-offs:

Republic of Ireland v France
Portugal v Bosnia-Hercegovina
Greece v Ukraine
Russia v Slovenia

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see also
Republic unseeded for play-offs
16 Oct 09 |  Internationals
Who has qualified for South Africa 2010?
19 Nov 09 |  Internationals
Rep of Ireland 0-0 Montenegro
14 Oct 09 |  Internationals
Trapattoni buoyed by Irish form
13 Oct 09 |  Internationals
Rep of Ireland 2-2 Italy
10 Oct 09 |  Internationals
Pick your Rep of Ireland XI
05 Feb 07 |  Internationals

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