Crunch qualifiers for Long and Boufal

By SFC Media Sat 11 Nov International
Photo by Getty Images | Shane Long

Crunch World Cup qualifiers await Saints’ Sofiane Boufal and Shane Long this evening with both requiring victories to boost their chances of being in Russia for the finals next summer.

The situation could not be simpler for Boufal’s Morocco who will qualify if they avoid defeat against Côte d’Ivoire in the 17.30 GMT kick-off in Abidjan. A reverse for Les Eléphants, meanwhile, would see them pip the visitors to top spot in Group C.

The Southampton playmaker rejoins Hervé Renard’s squad having missed out on the previous round of matches in October.

It will then be the turn of Shane Long and the Republic of Ireland a couple of hours later. The Irish travel to Denmark for the first leg of their World Cup play-off, looking to reach their first finals since 2002.

A James McClean strike was enough for Ireland to beat Wales and seal their spot as runners-up in Group D. They ended their group-stage campaign on 19 points, with Duśan Tadić’s Serbia topping the section.

Their last appearance in the play-offs ended in heartbreak at the hands of France, in 2009. If Martin O’Neill’s men can avoid defeat at FC Copenhagen’s Parken Stadium, they will fancy their chances of finishing the job at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin on Tuesday night.

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