Euro 2020 play-offs: Windsor Park will host final if Republic and Northern Ireland win semi-finals

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McCarthy says Windsor all-Irish showdown for a Euro 2020 spot would be 'fabulous'

Northern Ireland will host the Republic of Ireland for a Euro 2020 spot at Windsor Park if both win their play-off semi-finals in March.

Friday's draw in Switzerland handed the winners of the Bosnia-Herzegovina v Northern Ireland semi-final home advantage for the play-off final.

The Republic of Ireland will also be away in their semi-final against Slovakia on 26 March.

Northern Ireland's semi-final is on the same date with the final on 31 March.

Republic of Ireland manager Mick McCarthy said an all-Irish tie for a Euro 2020 spot would "without a doubt" be the biggest ever game between the two countries.

The two Irelands have not met in a competitive game since a 1-1 draw in a Euro 1996 qualifier at the old Lansdowne Road in March 1995.

Jack Charlton after arriving back in Dublin following his Republic side's 1-1 draw at Windsor Park in November 1993
Jack Charlton's Republic of Ireland drew 1-1 at a highly-charged Windsor Park in November 1993 to secure a place at the 1994 World Cup Finals

Seventeen months earlier, the teams met in a World Cup qualifier amid a highly charged atmosphere at Windsor Park when the Republic secured a 1-1 draw which proved enough to secure a spot at the 1994 finals in the USA.

"I can't think of another one that would have been bigger. Let's hope we can get it on," McCarthy told BBC Sport Northern Ireland after Friday's draw in Nyon.

"It's a game that will be fabulous. It would be great to be involved in, to be playing in.

"I'm sure both the lads from Northern Ireland and us would love to play that game and it would be one of us that would be going to the Euros in 2020.

"Hopefully us of course because it's [two Euro 2020 Finals games] in Dublin."

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Michael O'Neill will take charge of NI in Euro 2020 play-offs, insists IFA chief

Republic game would be 'great occasion' - IFA boss

Irish FA chief executive Patrick Nelson also believes a qualification showdown against the Republic would be "a great occasion".

"We have to get past Bosnia-Herzegovina on 26 March and we're delighted if we do that, we've got a home final and that will be against either Slovakia or the Republic of Ireland," said Nelson.

"We're very experienced at hosting games at the National Football Stadium at Windsor Park in Belfast. We'll prepare very thoroughly on the field and off the field."

The Irish FA chief reiterated his "confidence" that Michael O'Neill will take charge of Northern Ireland for the play-offs despite his recent appointment as Stoke City manager.

However, Nelson acknowledged that it remains to be seen whether O'Neill would still be in charge if Northern Ireland reach the finals.

"As part of Michael leaving the IFA, we have agreed that Michael will be in charge for any play-off games that we have, so we're looking forward to 26 March. We're hoping that we make it to 31 March.

"What we've done so far is that we've spoken to Michael and Stoke City about him leading us through the play-offs. That's all been fully agreed.

"The next bridge will be what happens at the Euros and we will cross the bridge when we get to it.

"We've had Michael as our manager for eight years. He's brought us unprecedented success. He's the right man to lead us into the play-offs."

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