Unseeded Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland set to learn World Cup play-off fate

Ross McLean
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Michael O'Neill's Northern Ireland are unseeded for the play-off draw, having been usurped by Denmark in the Fifa world rankings (Source: Getty)

Northern Ireland’s quest to reach next summer’s World Cup has suffered a blow after Denmark usurped them in the Fifa rankings, meaning Michael O’Neill’s side will be unseeded in Tuesday’s play-off draw.

Defeat to Germany and Norway in their final two group games, coupled with Denmark beating Montenegro and drawing with Romania, contributed to Northern Ireland slipping to No23 and the Danes rising to No19.

As a consequence, Northern Ireland and Republic of Ireland, who are also unseeded, will be drawn against either Switzerland, Italy, Croatia or Denmark when the play-off draw is made in Zurich at 1pm on Tuesday. The other unseeded sides are Sweden and Greece.

The first leg of the play-offs will take place between 9 and 11 November, while the ties will be concluded between 12 and 14 November.

Elsewhere in the rankings, England moved up three places to No12, while Wales, who missed out on qualifying for the tournament in Russia, dropped to No14, while Scotland have moved to No29.

Defending world champions Germany have retained top spot with Brazil and Portugal second and third respectively.

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