The latest Federation Internationale de Football Association rankings, released on Tuesday (NZT), show Peru has climbed two places into 10th, their highest-ever position. The eight best second-placed teams (Slovakia missed out despite finishing runners-up to England in Group F) will battle for the four remaining qualifying spots. Likewise they can not play Sweden or Greece. Northern Ireland fell three places to 23rd despite advancing to the play-offs.
The current frontrunners in FIFA's top-ten rankings are reigning World Champions Germany (1,631 points), followed by Brazil (1,619), Portugal (1,446), Argentina (1,445), Belgium (1,333), Poland (1,323), France (1,226), Spain (1,218), Chile (1,173) and Peru (1,160). Northern Ireland are new to the play-offs, having qualified automatically for last year's European Championships. This is the first time that South Korea have had a lower FIFA ranking than China since the world football governing body adopted the ranking system in 1993. The order of fixtures will be determined by the draw.More news: Pakistan hostage story: Rescue, release or handover?
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The draw for the final qualifiers takes place on Tuesday and will determine the pairings of the four matches, with those ranked highest avoiding each other. The return leg takes place between November 12 and 14. In event of a draw on aggregate, away goals apply. If the scores are still level at the end of extra time, the tie will go to penalties.