Ireland gets Estonia in Euro 2012 playoffs

Ireland missed qualifying for the 2010 World Cup after a controversial defeat by France, and will play Estonia in a playoff next month for a chance to play in the Euro 2012 finals, it was announced on Thursday.

Thierry Henry's handball helped France advance to the World Cup at the expense of Ireland, but the country can start to erase that disappointing result with a berth in next year's Euro finals in Poland and Ukraine.

Estonia, which has never made the finals of a big tournament, was the lowest- seeded team of the eight participants. Estonia lost to the Faroe Islands in qualifying, and is ranked just 37th out of 53 teams in UEFA.

Ireland visits Estonia on Nov. 11, and hosts the second leg on Nov. 15.

The other pairings are Portugal against Bosnia and Herzegovina in a rematch of a 2010 World Cup playoff won by the Portuguese, the Czech Republic against Montenegro, and Croatia against Turkey.

The other first-leg matches are Nov. 11-12, and the return legs are Nov. 15.

The four winners advance to the 16-team finals, which is scheduled for June 8 to July 1 next year.

Co-hosts Poland and Ukraine, the nine group winners in qualifying - Denmark, England, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Netherlands, Russia and Spain - and the top second-place finisher - Sweden - have already qualified.