Northern Ireland up to 20th in world rankings

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Northern Ireland's 2-0 win over the Czech Republic at Windsor Park helped them climb the rankings.

By Richard O'Reilly

Northern Ireland have reached their highest ever place in the FIFA World Rankings, rising to 20th.

Michael O'Neill's men climbed three places following World Cup Qualification wins over San Marino and the Czech Republic.

It moves them above Sweden, Iceland and Costa Rica.

Northern Ireland are assured of second place in Group C, and look to be all but assured of  a playoff spot.

20th is the highest ever placing achieved by a Northern Irish side, with 22nd in July of being the previous best.

Their ranking come October will determine whether or not their seeded for the playoffs, with the draw taking place on the 17th of the month.

Jubilant Northern Ireland fans outside Windsor Park after the 2-0 victory over the Czech Republic

As it stands Northern Ireland would be seeded as one of the four highest ranked sides in the playoff spots.

If things remain as they are, Michael O'Neill's men would avoid Italy, Portugal and Slovakia in the playoffs.

Northern Ireland's next opponents Germany have leapfrogged Brazil into top spot in the FIFA Rankings.

Meanwhile Wales have moved ahead of England.  Seamus' Coleman's side are now in 13th, two spots ahead of the Three Lions.

The Republic of Ireland have dropped five places into 34th.

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