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Stephen Kenny on Nations Leagu...

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Stephen Kenny on Nations League draw: 'These are important games'

Ann-Marie Donelan
Ann-Marie Donelan

09:32 16 Dec 2021


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Republic of Ireland manager Stephen Kenny says they are excited about their upcoming games in next year's UEFA Nations League.

The draw for the competition took place in Switzerland on Thursday evening.

Ireland were drawn in One of League B alongside Scotland, Ukraine and Armenia.

Reacting to the draw, Kenny told FAI TV that any of the sides in the group are capable of taking points off each other.

"My first impression is that it's a really competitive group.

"Obviously the Ukraine getting to the quarter-finals of the Euros was a good achievement, Scotland are obviously unbeaten in their last six games, or have won their last six and Armenia finished ahead of Iceland in their group so I think it's going to be a very competitive group.

"I think all sides are capable of taking points off each other and it's very exciting from our point of view."

Kenny said they are particularly looking forward to the home legs of th ties.

He's pleased with the backing the side are getting off the public and wants to match this support with good performances.

"From our point of view, we can see the improvement in our own team.

"Apart from Ronaldo's record-breaking 97 minute winner, when he broke the World Record, that's our only defeat in the last 10 games and since March we've scored 20 goals.

"You can see the players in a young, emerging team, we're getting better.

"We'll look forward to the games, the games at the Aviva Stadium are magnificent - full houses, a lot of passion, a lot of real support for the team now."

Kenny also spoke about how he now wants to see the team move up a level.

He feels the Nations League would be a good time to do this after using the recent FIFA World Cup qualification bid to build the squad.

"It's a World Cup year, Ireland have not been at the World Cup since 2002, that's 20 years so the Nations League is significant for us.

"They're competitive games, we've had our period now where we've been building a team in the World Cup Qualifiers and we finished really strongly.

"We're looking forward to the games in June and September - they're important games for us in the calendar.

"You're learning about teams all the time.

"The fact that Scotland are playing Ukraine in March in the [World Cup] play-off is very, very interesting but we'll focus on ourselves.

"We know we'll get full houses for our home games and we've to make sure our preparations are good."


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