The Republic of Ireland’s chances of getting a World Cup 2018 qualification play-off spot were helped by a series of results on Thursday night.

Ireland can still finish top of Group D and qualify for Russia next year, though this is a long shot.

The most likely route for Martin O’Neill’s team into the World Cup would be to beat Moldova in Dublin on Friday and Wales away in Cardiff the following Monday – though this is a long enough shot in itself.

That would leave Ireland on 19 points from ten games and secure in second place – assuming Serbia pick up at least one point in their last two games.

The results against Moldova would then be discounted – six points – leaving Ireland on 13 points and in the hunt for the eight play-off places. The second placed team from the nine groups with the worst record will be eliminated.

England beat Slovenia in Group F at Wembley while Scotland got the better of Slovakia, now out of the play-off picture, at Hampden Park – both results Ireland wanted to see.

While Scotland's win boosted their play-off hopes, the Boys in Green will now be looking for Slovenia to take points off the Scots in their final game.

Northern Ireland lost their home game to World Champions Germany, though their late goal in the 3-1 defeat may be key.

Michael O’Neill’s team are already guaranteed of second place in Group C and have a stronger goal difference than Ireland. They would need to lose their last game against Norway by hefty margin to slip out of the play-off places.

In Group E, results didn’t go Ireland’s way with Denmark beating Montenegro – a draw or a Montenegro win would have suited better, though both face tough final ties, against Romania and Poland respectively, and could still drop points.

Watch the full interview tonight as Republic of Ireland taken on Moldova, live on RTÉ2, RTÉ Player and 2fm from 7pm, Live online blog www.rte.ie/sport