The Republic of Ireland under-21 will face familiar opposition in Euro 2025 qualifying after they were drawn alongside five-time winners Italy in Group A.

Norway, Turkey, Latvia and San Marino were also drawn into Group A at Thursday's event in Nyon with the games set to take place between March 2023 and October 2024.

Jim Crawford’s side were at an all-time high UEFA ranking of 19th for the draw, ensuring them a second seed spot among the 52 teams.

"Qualification for the Under-21 European Championship is always a challenge and this is a challenge we're looking forward to," the manager said.

"These games will be a great opportunity for players to develop and prepare for senior international football. I look forward to working with them as they will be new generation of Under-21s internationals."

Jim Crawford's side were close to qualifying for the 2023 tournament - but lost to Israel on penalties

Ireland finished second behind Italy in qualification for the 2023 U21 tournament before losing out to Israel after a penalty shoot-out last September.

The side will warm up for qualifying with a friendly against Iceland at Turner's Cross as the team return to Cork for the first time in over a decade.

The nine group winners and the three best runners-up (not counting results against sixth-placed teams) will qualify directly for the tournament alongside hosts Slovakia.

The other six runners-up will play off over two legs for the remaining three finals berths in November 2024.

Northern Ireland, meanwhile, have been placed in Group F alongside England, Ukraine, Serbia, Azerbaijan and Luxembourg.

The side are on the hunt for a new manager after John Schofield stood down earlier this week.

Group A: Italy, Republic of Ireland, Norway, Turkey, Latvia, San Marino

Group B: Spain, Belgium, Scotland, Hungary, Kazakhstan, Malta

Group C: Netherlands, Sweden, Georgia, North Macedonia, Moldova, Gibraltar

Group D: Germany, Poland, Israel, Bulgaria, Kosovo, Estonia

Group E: Romania, Switzerland, Finland, Albania, Montenegro, Armenia

Group F: England, Ukraine, Serbia, Northern Ireland, Azerbaijan, Luxembourg

Group G: Portugal, Croatia*, Greece, Belarus, Faroe Islands, Andorra

Group H: France, Austria, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cyprus

Group I: Denmark, Czech Republic, Iceland, Wales, Lithuania