FIFA keep top teams apart in the draw for Europe's World Cup qualifying play-offs

FIFA to keep top teams apart in the draw for Europe's World Cup qualifying play-offs

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FIFA will keep the top four teams apart in the draw for Europe's World Cup qualifying play-offs - despite doubts being raised over the system four years ago.

The draw to see which four of the eight group runners-up will qualify for next summer's finals in Brazil will take place on 21 October.

The top four teams will be seeded according to their FIFA ranking and will play against one of four lower-ranked teams - a system that was questioned by the Republic of Ireland when they were drawn against France for the 2010 World Cup qualifying play-offs.

A FIFA statement read: "The eight teams will be seeded in two pots with the four highest-ranked teams placed in one pot.

"The ranking will be based on the FIFA/Coca-Cola world ranking published on October 17, 2013. The matches are due to be played on November 15 and November 19 respectively."

England could drop into the play-offs if results in the final qualifiers against Montenegro on Friday and Poland do not go their way.