Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland drop two places in FIFA World Rankings to swap places with Republic of Ireland

Northern Ireland boss Michael O'neill and Republic of Ireland chief Mick McCarthy could be going head-to-head in March.
Northern Ireland boss Michael O'neill and Republic of Ireland chief Mick McCarthy could be going head-to-head in March.

Northern Ireland have dropped two places in the latest FIFA World Rankings, swapping places with the Republic of Ireland.

Michael O'Neill's men are now 36th in the list after slipping below both their cross-border neighbours and Algeria following the heavy defeat to Germany and draw with the Netherlands earlier this month.

Northern Ireland are in their joint worst place since 2015 and are now 16 spots off their all-time high of 20th, which they achieved in 2017.

The Republic of Ireland had been in 36th before the latest update, their own worst position since 2015, but their friendly win over New Zealand and Euro 2020 qualifying draw with Denmark was enough to edge Mick McCarthy's men up two places.

The two sides could, of course, be set to go head to head in March in the Euro 2020 play-offs.

Northern Ireland will travel to Bosnia & Herzegovinia while the Republic go to Slovakia in the semi-finals. Should both teams progress, they will met in Belfast for a place in the Euro 2020 finals.

England remain fourth in the rankings while Scotland are back into the top 50, moving up three places with their recent wins over Cyprus and Kazakhstan. Wales are up two places to 22nd.

Belgium stay top, ahead of France and Brazil. The only movers in the top 10 are Croatia, who jump one place above Portugal to sixth.

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