The fallout from the end of the Vera Pauw era continues to cast a long shadow but, on the pitch at least, Saturday will mark a fresh start for the Girls in Green when they take on Northern Ireland.

The Republic of Ireland squad, led by interim manager Eileen Gleeson, will make history by playing at the Aviva Stadium for the first time.

It is also a new departure for UEFA. The match (live on RTÉ2, RTÉ Player and RTÉ 2fm) forms part of the first round of fixtures of the inaugural Women's Nations League.

The men's version of the competition is now three editions old and after initial scepticism, has eventually gained favour. Friendlies have been replaced by competitive fixtures against teams of equivalent quality, along with the carrot and stick of promotion and relegation.

The aim is the same for the Women's Nations League, with Europe's 16 highest ranked sides split into four groups of four in the top tier League A (where the two finalists will qualify for next year's Olympic Games).

Ireland missed out on inclusion in that top division by a single ranking position but will be among the strongest sides on paper in the 16-team League B.

The current breakdown of the three tiers of the Nations League

They will be hopeful of getting promoted at the first attempt from a Group B1 that also features Hungary and Albania in a four-team round-robin format that will be played out across the next three months.

But beyond targeting promotion, similarly to the men's equivalent, the Nations League will have some bearing on qualification for the next major tournament which will be the 2025 European Championships in Switzerland.

There is a significant difference however. The men's Nations League effect is primarily felt at the play-off stage rather than the group qualification phase.

For example, Stephen Kenny's Ireland competed in League B of the Nations League in the June and September windows last year in a round-robin against Scotland, Ukraine and Armenia.

They were subsequently drawn into a distinct and admittedly daunting Euro 2024 qualifying group against France, the Netherlands, Greece and Gibraltar, with the top two qualifying directly for next summer's finals.

That qualifying group has no bearing on how play-off places are allocated for Euro 2024. That's where the Nations League rankings come in and, as the Boys in Green may find to their cost, the disappointing outcome in that competition last year could see them miss out on the Euro play-offs entirely.

Had results in the Nations League been better then a play-off place would have been a safe bet regardless of how the current group qualifying phase for Euro 2024 has gone.

In contrast, the Women's Nations League and Euro 2025 qualifiers are more directly tied together.

The group qualification phase, which will begin next spring, will follow the exact same format as this upcoming Nations League, with teams spread across three tiers and four groups of four within the top two divisions.

League A of the Nations League as it currently stands and Ireland will hope to have been promoted to that tier for the similarly-formatted Euro qualifiers

Although Ireland are currently in League B of the Nations League, if they can top Group B1 ahead of Northern Ireland, Hungary and Albania, they would find themselves automatically promoted to League A for the Euro qualifiers when they kick off in February.

Conversely, a second-place finish in B1 would mean a promotion play-off against one of the third-place teams in League A. Third place in B1 would be a relegation play-off against one of the second-placed teams in League C, while fourth spot would result in automatic relegation to that third tier. All those play-off fixtures are slated for this December.

When the Euro 2025 qualifying groups are underway next year though, the top two teams in each of the four groups in League A would qualify directly for the finals tournament. Hosts Switzerland are also involved in the qualifiers and have their spot at the championships guaranteed even if they don't qualify directly.

For every other hopeful, two rounds of play-offs would determine the remaining 7-8 places (dependent on the Swiss' pathway) for Euro 2025.

League A's third and fourth-placed teams would go into the first round of play-offs against the group winners from League C and the best runners-up.

Meanwhile in that first round of play-offs, the four League B group winners plus the two best runners-up would be drawn against the two worst runners-up and the four third-placed teams.

The winners from the League A v League C pathway as well as those that emerge from League B would then advance to the second and final round of play-offs to determine the remaining spots for Euro 2025.

As you may have realised now, it's a complicated process. But for argument's sake, the smoothest and best case scenario for Ireland to qualify directly for the European Championships without the rigmarole of play-offs would be to top Group B1 of this upcoming Nations League and then finish in the top two of their League A qualifying group next year.

However, given the likely depth of teams in the top tier such as World Cup winners Spain, Euros holders England and other big hitters like Sweden and France, that would be easier said than done and it would be wise not to look beyond the immediate challenges of League B of the Nations League given that Northern Ireland made it to the last European Championships.

Amid the post-World Cup turmoil, the hope from supporters will be that talking will take place on the pitch rather than off it.

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Follow a live blog of the Republic of Ireland v Northern Ireland on RTÉ.ie/Sport and the RTÉ News app this Saturday, watch on RTÉ2 and RTÉ Player or listen on RTÉ Radio 1.