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Tuesday 05 Mar 2024
Northern Ireland to face Portugal in Women’s Euro qualifiers

Northern Ireland’s senior women’s team will take on Portugal, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Malta in the league phase of qualifiers for UEFA Women’s Euro 2025.

The four teams in League B Group 3 will face each other home and away across six matchdays between April and July. Fixtures are due to be confirmed later today/early tomorrow.

Northern Ireland were in Pot 3 for the League B draw, while Portugal were in Pot 1 and Bosnia and Herzegovina in Pot 2. Malta were drawn from the fourth pot. The draw was staged earlier today at UEFA HQ in Nyon, Switzerland.

The senior women’s team have previously faced Portugal on five occasions, winning two and losing three. They have played Bosnia three times before, winning once and losing twice. They have never previously faced Malta.

Top seeds Portugal were relegated into League B after finishing bottom of a UEFA Women’s Nations League group that also featured France, Austria and Norway. They won one and lost five.

Bosnia stayed in League B after finishing runners-up in theirgroup with three wins, two draws and one defeat, while Malta topped their group in League C with five wins and a draw.

Tanya Oxtoby’s side finished third in their B group but retained their place in League B after winning a promotion/relegation play-off against Montenegro last week.

In qualifying, as per the league stage of the Nations League, teams will compete in groups of four or three teams (League C only) and over six matchdays in April, May/June and July.

The top two teams in each League A group will gain places in the July 2025 finals alongside hosts Switzerland (who will compete in League B although their automatic qualification is assured). The remaining seven spots will be decided by two rounds of play-offs in October and November/December.

The first round of the play-offs is split into two paths.

In one path the teams finishing third and fourth in League A will play the five group winners and three best-ranked runners-up in League C. The eight winners progress to the second round.

In the other first round path the four group winners and two best-ranked runners-up in League B will be drawn into six ties against the remaining two runners-up and four third-placed teams in League B. The six winners progress to the second round.

In the second round the teams from both paths come together and will be drawn into seven ties, with seeding for the seven highest-ranked teams based on the European Qualifiers overall league rankings. The seven winners progress to the final tournament.

Image: Former Swiss international Gaelle Thalmann draws out the Northern Ireland card during today’s draw at UEFA HQ.