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Fifa rankings: Northern Ireland climbs to 37th spot to make Pot Four in World Cup draw

By Claire Cromie

Northern Ireland has climbed seven places up the FIFA world rankings to 37th.

The national side will be in the third group of seeds when the qualification draw for World Cup 2018 takes place in St Petersburg on July 25.

That could lead to the scenario of playing World Cup holders Germany and Italy or France as they bid to qualify for the finals.

Michael O'Neill's men are on target for qualification for next year's European Championship finals following last month's 0-0 draw against Romania.

Northern Ireland's highest ever position in the rankings was 27th spot which they occupied in August 2007 and from April to June 2009.

But as recently as August last year, Northern Ireland ranked 95th.

Argentina have regained the top spot from Germany. The current Top 10 are:

  1. Argentina
  2. Germany
  3. Belgium
  4. Colombia
  5. Holland
  6. Brazil
  7. Portugal
  8. Romania
  9. England
  10. Wales

Wales have moved to their highest-ever position, overtaking Spain and closing in on England, after a fine start to Euro 2016 qualifying from Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey and co.

England have jumped six places after Roy Hodgson led his side to six wins out of six.

And while the Republic of Ireland have climbed eight spots to 52, there is disappointment that Martin O'Neill's men will be plunged into lowly Pot Four when the World Cup draw is made in two weeks’ time.

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