After looking at the likelihood of Wales, England and Northern Ireland making it through European qualifying to France in 2016, part two of the review focuses on Scotland and the Republic of Ireland's challenges.

Before considering their task in more detail in Group D, it's worth considering how the top of the group looks after six matches:

  1. Poland 14 points (+17 goal difference)

  2. Germany 13 (+12)

  3. Scotland 11 (+6)

  4. R. of Ireland 9 (+7)


Scotland's hard-earned point in their latest encounter with the Republic of Ireland could prove crucial to their hopes of qualification.

Both they and the Irish were always likely to face a tough battle to gain a top two place, given the inclusion of the world champions, Germany in their group. The Poles have proved to be something of a surprise package, after a wonderful start to their campaign which included a 2-0 home win against the Germans.

Their main hope would probably be that the powerful Germans would draw clear as the Poles stutter over the final matches, especially as Germany play Poland at home next, allowing Scotland to snatch second place.

Failing that, they would most likely have to qualify through the knock out stages by finishing third. If they were in particularly optimistic mood, they could hope that the Germans were the team to fall back, although history dictates that they seldom do.

Scotland's remaining fixtures are:

  • Georgia (away)

  • Germany (home)

  • Poland (home)

  • Gibraltar (away)

Georgia away could yet prove to be an awkward fixture. Although the Scots beat them 1-0 earlier in the group stages, they lost 2-0 back in 2007 in a Euro qualifier, the only time they have played them away from home.

Gibraltar should prove a comfortable enough way to complete their fixtures, but those two games at home against Germany and Poland promise to be high tension nights packed with emotion. They probably need to get a positive result from both games to maintain their qualification challenge.

Republic of Ireland

No wonder the bookies have extended their odds on qualification, given their remaining fixtures and the position they face in the group.

It would probably take four straight victories, an extremely tough task given that two of the games left to play include the Germans and Poland. Without those twelve points they could well end up with third place as their only potential route through to France.

The Irish team's final four matches are:

  • Gibraltar (away)

  • Georgia (home)

  • Germany (home)

  • Poland (away)

Martin O'Neill's side would expect to gain six points from their next two games, which would hopefully push them closer to the top three places. They will then need nerves of steel and plenty of typical Irish heart to face the challenge of those final two battles. Don't rule them out just yet though.