World Cup 2022: Northern Ireland will begin qualifying campaign away to group top seeds Italy

Ian Baraclough shouts instructions to his players during Sunday's game
Ian Baraclough's Northern Ireland lost to Slovakia in November's Euro play-off final

Northern Ireland will begin their 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign away to Italy.

Ian Baraclough's men will go to the Group C top seeds on 25 March with a home match against Bulgaria six days later.

September's double header is away to Lithuania on 2 September then home to Switzerland on 8 September.

They travel to Switzerland and Bulgaria in October before finishing in November at home to Lithuania and Italy.

The matches away to Switzerland and Bulgaria will take place on 9 and 12 October respectively with the final two fixtures being against Lithuania on 12 November and Italy three days later, both at home.

Only the group winners will be guaranteed qualification for the World Cup finals, which will start in Qatar in November 2022.

The group runners-up will be involved in play-offs, which will also include two teams that progress via the Uefa Nations League.

Northern Ireland's Group C fixtures
25 March 2021Italyv Northern Ireland
31 March 2021Northern IrelandvBulgaria
2 September 2021Lithuaniav Northern Ireland
8 September 2021Northern IrelandvSwitzerland
9 October 2021SwitzerlandvNorthern Ireland
12 October 2021BulgariavNorthern Ireland
12 November 2021Northern IrelandvLithuania
15 November 2021Northern IrelandvItaly

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