The Republic of Ireland lost 1-0 to Austria in a World Cup qualifier on Tuesday, casting a massive doubt over their hopes for the World Cup in Brazil.
While qualification is still possible mathematically, Republic manager Giovanni Trapattoni accepted that their chances of qualification were minimal.
Trapattoni's reign as Ireland boss has come to an end after their most recent defeat, with the Football Association of Ireland (FAI) and the Italian parting company by mutual consent.
Trapattoni himself did not expect to keep the job past the next few qualifiers, saying after the game: "I don't expect after this campaign, to go again with Ireland".
Since taking over in May 2008, the Republic of Ireland have fallen three places to 44th in the FIFA rankings and - despite the Irish fans being named as the 'best' at the Euros by UEFA - their performance in the competition equalled records as the worst ever in the competition.
The Italian's rigid tactics and sometimes baffling squad selection are other major sticking points for Irish fans - with many questioning Trapattoni's decision to leave highly-rated Norwich midfielder on the bench against Austria.
Dressing-room rifts with high-profile players have also punctuated Trapattoni's reign as Ireland manager - bust-ups with James McClean and Stephen Kelly being most prominent.
With Trapattoni's job now over with the Republic of Ireland, who are the favourites to replace the Italian? We look at the three strongest candidates and assess their credentials to become the next Ireland coach.
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