World Cup 2018: Northern Ireland will not be seeded for play-offs

Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill
Northern Ireland finished second behind Germany in their qualifying group

Northern Ireland have dropped below Denmark in the Fifa rankings, meaning they will not be seeded for the 2018 World Cup play-offs.

The Danes, who have moved up seven places to 19th, will be seeded along with Switzerland, Italy and Croatia.

Northern Ireland, who dropped three places to 23rd in the rankings, Republic of Ireland, Sweden and Greece are the four unseeded teams.

The draw will take place on Tuesday, 17 October at 13:00 BST in Zurich.

The games will take place on a home and away basis, with the first legs taking place between 9 and 11 November and the second legs between 12 and 14 November.

The first team drawn for each of the ties will be at home for the first leg.

Northern Ireland were 20th in Fifa's previous rankings list but they lost to Germany and Norway in their final two group games as they finished as Group C runners-up.

Denmark, meanwhile, beat Montenegro and drew with Romania in their last two World Cup qualifiers.

Wales have dropped a place to 14th and Scotland have gone up 14 places to 29th.

Germany remain in the number one spot, with Brazil second and Portugal third.

What about the World Cup draw?

The latest rankings also confirmed England will be unseeded for the World Cup draw proper, which takes place on 1 December.

Gareth Southgate's side moved up three places to 12th in the rankings, but only the seven highest-ranked qualified teams - as well as hosts Russia - will be seeded.

That means England will be in pot two - along with 2014 winners Spain, who also missed out on being seeded, despite moving from 11th to eighth in the rankings.

Seeded teams: Russia, Germany, Brazil, Portugal, Argentina, Belgium, Poland, France.


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