Stephen Kenny’s Republic of Ireland side face a huge test as they go up against Slovakia in a Euro 2020 play-off this evening.
The postponed tournament is due to go ahead next summer, while uncertainty surrounds that, tonight’s task is simple – win.
Here’s everything you need to know about the big game.
When is it?
The game takes place in Bratislava this evening with a 7.45pm kick-off (Irish time).
What’s at stake?
This is a semi-final play-off so the winner will face either Northern Ireland or Bosnia for a place at the European Championship. That game is another one-legged affair and it will be an uphill task for Ireland as it will take place in either Sarajevo or Belfast on November 12th.
What channel can I watch it on?
Coverage begins on RTÉ 2 at 7pm and Sky Sports Football at 7.30pm.
Draw (in 90 minutes): 19/10
How good are Slovakia?
Slovakia are slight favourites going into this game and they well certainly be tougher opposition than Bulgaria and Finland were in Kenny’s first two games in charge last month.
Many football fans will remember their danger man Marek Hamsik, who previously played for Napoli and was once coveted by Premier League sides including Manchester United.
At 33, he may not be the player he was at his peak but Hamsik still has the potential to cause plenty of problems for the Irish defence.
Lazio’s Denis Vavro is the other star player for Slovakia
Slovakia’s start to the UEFA Nations League was as poor as Ireland’s, they suffered defeat to the Czech Republic before a draw with Israel.
However, they will welcome back a number of key players for the big game on Thursday.
Captain Seamus Coleman is a big injury blow for Ireland. The Everton man has been ruled out with a hamstring injury.
Matt Doherty was favoured at right-back for Kenny’s opening two games but Coleman has been in excellent form for Everton since then and the manager had hinted at using them both in an altered line-up.
That won’t be an issue now so the back four of Doherty, Shane Duffy, John Egan and Enda Stevens will probably remain unchanged.
Darragh Lenihan and Harry Arter have also been ruled out due to injury with Kevin Long and Cyrus Christie coming in as replacements.
Adam Idah played up front in the Finland and Bulgaria games but David McGoldrick is fully fit, and fresh from a cracking goal against Arsenal, so he’s likely to reclaim the spot.
Callum Robinson and Aaron Connolly have also been in good form at club level so they will be pushing for a spot.
Ireland also face Wales in Dublin on Sunday and Finland in Helsinki on Wednesday in the Nations League but all attention will be on Bratislava tonight.