Jim Crawford reacts to Ireland U21 qualifiers draw
The draw sees Jim Crawford U21s take on three of the same opposition they faced in the 2018-2020 campaign - Italy, Sweden and Luxembourg.
Ireland last took on Montenegro in the qualifiers in 2014 with Wednesday’s draw in Switzerland setting up a first meeting between Bosnia & Herzegovina at Under-21 level.
The qualifiers are set to begin in March with the fixtures and dates to be confirmed in the coming days.
It will be Crawford’s first full campaign in charge as he looks to become the first U21s manager to lead a side to the European Championships.
The U21s will be boosted with familiar faces from the last campaign with Gavin Bazunu, Brian Maher, Nathan Collins, Lee O’Connor, Mark McGuinness, Conor Coventry, Luca Connell, Will Ferry, Jonathan Afolabi, Ryan Cassidy, Michael Obafemi and Troy Parrott all players selected by Crawford in November who are eligible for the forthcoming campaign.
Speaking after the draw, Jim Crawford said: “It’s a case of déjà vu with Italy, Sweden and Luxembourg, but we knew whoever we would face would be a tough group.
“We are up against Montenegro who we’ve never beaten at Under-21 level and it’s the first time we’ll play Bosnia & Herzegovina at this level too – so they are two interesting opponents.
“Italy will be a real test with the quality they have and Sweden are a really good team but me and the staff are really looking forward to the campaign ahead.
“We’ve been working around the clock in the build up of the campaign and even to today’s draw and I can’t wait to be out on the grass with the staff and the players “
The dates and venues of the games will be confirmed in due course.
2021 – 2023 UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifiers Group F
- Republic of Ireland
- Bosnia & Herzegovina