Ireland rise to 26 in latest Federation Internationale de Football Association rankings

Hope Soto
October 17, 2017

Even Portugal and Argentina aren't the most daunting top seeds-especially the latter, after its qualifying campaign-but nobody wants to gameplan for Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo in a World Cup.

The Republic, who have risen eight places to 26th, and Northern Ireland, who drop three places to 23rd, will face either Italy, Croatia, Switzerland or Denmark. Instead of one seeded pot and three pots determined by logistical and geographical reasoning, Federation Internationale de Football Association has changed its ways so that all four pots are determined purely based on the rankings. Russian Federation goes into the top pot, followed by the top seven-ranked teams, and the remaining 24 teams are spread into the three subsequent pots in order.

The seeded and unseeded teams will be in two different pots based on the rankings, meaning Northern Ireland and Ireland can not face each other in the two-legged contests.

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Wales, who missed out on the World Cup and are trying to convince Chris Coleman to remain as boss, slip to 14th while Scotland, who also failed to qualify and are looking for a replacement for Gordon Strachan, are 29th. Both balls will then be placed into a third pot. The first ball drawn determines which team plays the first leg at home, and the second one decides who'll host the return leg.

How are the play-offs decided?

The Austrians are one of the four new entries to the top 50, where they are joined by Czech Republic (46), Morocco (48) and World Cup qualifying sensation Panama (49). If there is still no deciding factor at the end of normal time, then the tie will go to extra time (two periods of 15 minutes), with the away goals rule still applicable.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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