Latest: Republic of Ireland draw Denmark in World Cup play-off

Update 1.09pm: Martin O'Neill's Republic of Ireland side have today been drawn against Denmark in a play-off for a place in World Cup 2018 in Russia.

Denmark currently sit 19th in the FIFA rankings.

Today's draw also sees Northern Ireland drawn to play Switzerland. The Swiss, 11th in the listings, were the highest ranked of the Pot 1 seeds.

Croatia will play Greece, Italy will play Sweden.

The draw was made by former Spain international Fernando Hierro at Fifa HQ in Zurich, Switzerland.

The first leg, in Denmark, will take place between November 9 and November 11 and the return in the Aviva Stadium in Dublin between November 12 and November 14, with the away goals rule coming into play in the event of the teams being level on aggregate.

Earlier:

The latest Fifa rankings have seen Ireland move up eight places to 26 but, despite that significant improvement, of the eight countries to qualify for the World Cup play-offs, only Greece, at 47, are ranked below Martin O’Neill’s team, writes Liam Mackey.

The seeding of today’s draw in Zurich will see the Republic pitted against either Switzerland, Italy, Denmark, or Croatia in a two-legged tie next month.

Watch the draw live here.

The Swiss, 11th in the listings, are the highest ranked of the Pot 1 seeds, followed by Italy (15), Denmark (19) and Croatia (18). Joining the Republic in Pot 2 are Sweden (25), Northern Ireland (23) and Greece. Slovakia, the worst-ranked runners-up at the end of the qualifying campaign, miss out.

When qualification kicked off on September 4, 2016, there were 13 European places up for grabs at the 2018 finals in Russia. So far, the nine group winners — France, Portugal, Germany, Serbia, Poland, England, Spain, Belgium, and Iceland have qualified directly — leaving the eight best second-placed teams to now fight it out for the four remaining spots.

The procedure for today’s draw at Fifa HQ in Zurich, Switzerland, which begins at 1pm Irish time, is as follows:

1. One ball is taken from Pot 1 and one from Pot 2 and are placed in a central pot.

2. The balls are then mixed and drawn one-by-one.

3. The first ball drawn determines which team plays the first leg at home, and the second one decides who’ll host the return leg.

Spain and Real Madrid legend Fernando Hierro will perform the draw.

The first leg will take place between November 9 and November 11 and the return between November 12 and November 14, with the away goals rule coming into play in the event of the teams being level on aggregate.

If the winner is still not decided at the end of normal time in the second leg, the match will go to extra time, with two periods of 15 minutes and the away goals rule still applied.

If the scores are still level at the end of extra time, the tie will go to penalties.

Today’s draw is live on RTÉ Player from 1pm and it will also be live streamed on Fifa.com and Fifa’s YouTube channel.


 

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