Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland will NOT be seeded in the World Cup play-offs

According to our working out on the FIFA World Ranking prognosis tool anyway.

By Gareth Hanna

Northern Ireland's hopes of earning a seeded spot in the World Cup play-offs appear to be over.

That's after Croatia beat Ukraine 2-0 to secure second place in Group I.

Why? Well seedings will go on World Ranking places based on the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking to be published on 16 October. So Northern Ireland need to, obviously, be above four other play-off teams in the list.

Of the play-off teams, Italy are above NI in the rankings and with Denmark set to go to 1001 points, calculations suggest they will move above NI (889) as well.

And now that their play-off place is secure, Croatia look set to amass 1013 World Ranking points - outweighing Northern Ireland's 889 and slotting into the fourth seeded spot.

Northern Ireland will now face Switzerland, Denmark, Croatia or Italy in the play-offs.

That puts paid to any hopes that Northern Ireland could meet Republic of Ireland in the play-offs after Martin O'Neill's side secured their spot with a 1-0 win over Wales.

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