Arab Times

Ireland braced for Bosnia

Sweden renew Denmark rivalry

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PARIS, Nov 11, (AFP): A diminished Republic of Ireland hope to emerge from the first leg of their Euro 2016 qualifying play-off away to BosniaHerz­egovina on Friday with their chances of reaching the finals still intact.

Martin O’Neill’s side go to Zenica before hosting the Bosnians in Dublin on Monday with a place in France next summer up for grabs, but with suspension­s and injuries giving the Irish manager plenty to think about.

“Make no mistake about it, the games will be difficult, but you wouldn’t be expecting any sort of walkover in play-off games,” said O’Neill, who must do without the suspended Jonathan Walters and John O’Shea and injured goalkeeper Shay Given.

Newcastle United goalkeeper Rob Elliot and Southampto­n striker Shane Long — scorer of the goal that secured a famous 1-0 win over Germany last month — are also fitness concerns.

However, O’Neill added: “The momentum swinging towards them doesn’t bother me, it genuinely doesn’t bother me. We have got ourselves into this position and we don’t want to throw it away lightly.

“We have earned the right to be there, particular­ly with our results against the world champions, and we have accumulate­d the points. We are pleased to be here.”

While Ireland finished third behind Germany and Poland in qualifying Group D, Bosnia came in behind Wales and Belgium in Group B. Forward Simone Zaza attends a training session of the Italian national soccer team, ahead of Friday’s friendly match against Belgium, at the Coverciano training center, near Flor

ence, Italy, Nov 11. (AP)

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