The Republic of Ireland have been drawn against Portugal and Serbia in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers.

Stephen Kenny's side will also face Luxembourg and Azerbaijan in Group A as they attempt to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 2002.

The matches which will be played between March and November next year.

Ireland dropped into pot three after their winless run in the UEFA Nations League, making the challenge of reaching Qatar 2022 all the more difficult.

Ireland boss Stephen Kenny is relishing the prospect of an "exciting" group.

He told Sky Sports News: "It is an exciting group. Portugal are the European champions and the Nations League champions and Serbia, of course, have great pedigree.

"Luxembourg are a vastly improved team, and Azerbaijan.

"So it is an exciting group, and the fact that it is a five-team group means we've not got the congested three competitive games in the window in March, so it means back to the more traditional two.

"It’s an interesting group for us."

Ireland last played Portugal in a competitive fixture during their successful 2002 World Cup qualifying campaign, drawing 1-1 both home and away.

Portugal are ranked fifth in the world

Northern Ireland face a tough group against Italy, Switzerland, Bulgaria and Lithuania while Scotland are up against Denmark, Austria, Israel, the Faroe Islands and Moldova in Group F.

Wales face the world's number one-ranked team, Belgium, in Group E alongside the Czech Republic, Belarus and Estonia, with England drawn against Poland, Hungary, Albania, Andorra and San Marino.

The winners of the 10 groups will qualify automatically for the finals, which for the first time will be played in November and December of 2022 to avoid the punishing summer heat in the Middle East.

A further three places will be fought out between the 10 group runners-up and the two highest-ranked teams from the Nations League who have not already qualified or finished in a runner-up spot.

These 12 teams will be divided into three play-off paths, each featuring four countries, to determine the final three European berths.

Group A: Portugal, Serbia, Republic of Ireland, Luxembourg, Azerbaijan. 

Group B: Spain, Sweden, Greece, Georgia, Kosovo.

Group C: Italy, Switzerland, Northern Ireland, Bulgaria, Lithuania.

Group D: France, Ukraine, Finland, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kazakhstan.

Group E: Belgium, Wales, Czech Republic, Belarus, Estonia.

Group F: Denmark, Austria, Scotland, Israel, Faroe Islands, Moldova.

Group G: Holland, Turkey, Norway, Montenegro, Latvia, Gibraltar.

Group H: Croatia, Slovakia, Russia, Slovenia, Cyprus, Malta.

Group I: England, Poland, Hungary, Albania, Andorra, San Marino.

Group J: Germany, Romania, Iceland, North Macedonia, Armenia, Liechtenstein.