Sheffield United duo’s Northern Ireland handed tough draw in qualifiers for Euro 2020

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Oliver Norwood and Conor Washington’s Northern Ireland side have been handed a very tough draw for the 2020 European Championships – after being paired with Holland and Germany.

The Sheffield United pair, if selected, will also face Estonia and Belarus in Group C next year as they bid to reach the finals, which will be staged in cities across the continent.

Oliver Norwood of Sheffield Utd tackles Pablo Hernandez of Leeds United: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Oliver Norwood of Sheffield Utd tackles Pablo Hernandez of Leeds United: Simon Bellis/Sportimage

Michael O'Neill's side have it all to do against the Dutch and the Germans, and do not even have a play-off place guaranteed after a poor performance in the Nations League.

Northern Ireland lost to Germany home and away in qualification for the 2018 World Cup and were beaten by Joachim Low's side at Euro 2016.

The rejuvenated Dutch - who finished top of a Nations League group containing Germany and France - last faced Northern Ireland in June 2012 in a match which finished 6-0 in favour of the Oranje.

Meanwhile, the Republic of Ireland – with John Egan and Enda Stevens likely to be involved – had initially been drawn into Group C but could not take a place there due to there being too many host countries in one group.

Mick McCarthy's team were instead placed in Group D alongside Switzerland, Denmark, Georgia and Gibraltar.

Scotland, who called up John Fleck for their Nations League victory over Israel, are up against Belgium, Russia, Cyprus, Kazakhstan and San Marino in Group I.

Wales will face World Cup finalists Croatia in Group E, which also contains Slovakia, Hungary and Azerbaijan. Blades pair Ben Woodburn and Kieron Freeman could be involved.

Draw in full:

GROUP A: England, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Kosovo.

GROUP B: Portugal, Ukraine, Serbia, Lithuania, Luxembourg.

GROUP C: Holland, Germany, Northern Ireland, Estonia, Belarus.

GROUP D: Switzerland, Denmark, Republic of Ireland, Georgia, Gibraltar.

GROUP E: Croatia, Wales, Slovakia, Hungary, Azerbaijan.

GROUP F: Spain, Sweden, Norway, Romania, Faroe Islands, Malta.

GROUP G: Poland, Austria, Israel, Slovenia, Macedonia, Latvia.

GROUP H: France, Iceland, Turkey, Albania, Moldova, Andorra.

GROUP I: Belgium, Russia, Scotland, Cyprus, Kazakhstan, San Marino.

GROUP J: Italy, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Finland, Greece, Armenia, Liechtenstein.

:: Ties to be played in the March, June, September, October and November 2019 international breaks.