FIFA have confirmed that the 2018 World Cup play-offs will be seeded.
This means that the eight best (out of nine) teams who finish second in their qualifying groups will be split into two pots based on their FIFA World Ranking.
Last night’s result means that second place in Group D is realistically the best the Republic of Ireland can hope for, if the boys in green can beat Moldova and Wales in their final two qualifying matches. That said, there is also the possibility that Wales will slip up in Tbilisi against Georgia as Ireland did.
If Ireland win these two games, they will finish second in Group D with 13 points (discounting the six points against Moldova), which could be enough to finish ahead of Bosnia and secure a play-off tie. Bosnia are currently on 8 points, and would need to beat both Belgium and Estonia in their remaining games to finish above Ireland (should Ireland take maximum points from their last two fixtures).
However, even if Wales slip up against Georgia and Ireland draw in Cardiff – which would mean the boys in green would finish ahead of Wales on 11 points (discounting Moldova) – Ireland could lose to Bosnia, who will expect to beat Estonia (taking them to 11 points) and be aiming for a result against Belgium.
As it stands, Sweden, Portugal, Northern Ireland, Wales, Montenegro, Slovakia, Bosnia, Italy and Iceland are in second position in their respective groups.
The draw for the play-offs will take place on October 17th, and the subsequent games will occur between November 9th-14th.