The Republic of Ireland will begin their World Cup qualifying campaign away to Serbia on Wednesday, 24 March, with 2022 hosts Qatar placed in the qualifying group as a 'guest team'.

Monday's draw pitted the Boys in Green against Portugal, Serbia, Luxembourg and Azerbaijan in Group A, and the matches will be played between March and November next year.

Stephen Kenny's side welcome Luxembourg for their first home clash of the campaign on Saturday, 27 March, while Qatar will be in Dublin the following Tuesday, 30 March, for the non-competitive fixture.

With Euro 2020 taking place in the summer, the World Cup qualifiers will not resume until 1 September, where Ireland will face what is likely to be their toughest test, away to Portugal. And that is followed by two further home games, against Azerbaijan (4 Sep) and Serbia (7 Sep).

Into October, and Ireland travel to Azerbaijan on 9 September, before meeting Qatar (12 Sep) in their "away" fixture, which will be played somewhere in Europe.

The Group will be decided in November as Ireland welcome the Euro 2016 champions, Portugal, to Dublin on 11 November, before finishing their group campaign with an away fixture against Luxembourg on 14 November.

The group winners will progress to the World Cup, with all ten runners-up heading for a play-off tournament which has just three finals places available.

UEFA earlier confirmed on Tuesday evening that Qatar will be included as a guest team in Group A of the European World Cup qualifying groups to help their preparation for hosting the 2022 tournament.

The fixtures will have no points riding on them and would not affect the group overall. As hosts, Qatar's spot at the World Cup is already secured. 

"UEFA has invited the Qatar national team, the reigning champions of Asia, to prepare for the FIFA World Cup 2022," the European governing body said.

"Qatar will join Group A, alongside Portugal, Serbia, Republic of Ireland, Luxembourg and Azerbaijan."

Ahead of Euro 2016, France were the first host nation to take part in a European Championship qualification phase, with their group-stage contests serving as friendlies with no points awarded.