2022 World Cup: FIFA changes rule for playoff games, as Nigeria drop in world ranking

World football governing body, FIFA has announced a major change in the Third Round of qualifying matches for the World Cup scheduled for Qatar, in 2022.

This is just as the body released the new ranking of country embers which sees Nigeria dropping in the global table but maintaining its position in Africa.

FIFA changed the 2022 World Cup qualifying format for the intercontinental playoffs to single-leg games at a neutral venue from its previous two-legged home –away matches.

The winners of the matches will take the last two spots at next year’s tournament in Qatar.

FIFA, in a statement on Friday, cited “unprecedented disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic” when scheduling the games for June.

The world football governing body has, however, not confirmed a host for the two games, which will be played on June 13 and 14.

The playoffs will involve teams from AFC (Asia), CONMEBOL (South America), OFC (Oceania) and CONCACAF (North American and Caribbean region).

FIFA will make the World Cup tournament draw on April 1 in Doha. Only 30 of the 32 qualifiers will be known at the time, with the intercontinental playoffs still to come.

The draw for the intercontinental playoffs will be on November 26. The World Cup is scheduled to start on November 21, with the final on December 18.

FIFA will make the World Cup tournament draw on April 1 in Doha. Only 30 of the 32 qualifiers will be known at the time, with the intercontinental playoffs still to come.

The draw for the intercontinental playoffs will be on November 26. The World Cup is scheduled to start on November 21, with the final on December 18.

Meanwhile, Nigeria’s Super Eagles remained unchanged in 5th position, in the latest FIFA ranking.

Nigeria remained fifth in Africa and 36th in the World behind Senegal, Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria.

According to FIFA, the ranking will be the yardstick when the draw for the playoff will be conducted in December.

Africa top 10:

1. Senegal

2. Morocco

3.Tunisia

4. Algeria

5. Nigeria

6. Egypt

7. Cameroun

8. Ghana

9. Mali

10. Côte-d’Ivoire

Senegal remain the best-ranked Africa team as they sit in the 20th position in the world ahead of Morocco who occupy the 28th position in the world and second in Africa.

In the third position is Tunisia as they are ranked 29th in the world and 3rd in Africa.

Defending African champions Algeria are 32nd in the world and fourth in Africa while Nigeria come in at the fifth position to make up the top five teams in Africa.

The top five teams in Africa will be seeded in Pot 1 and drawn against any of the other teams outside the top five in the continent.

On the global scene, England moved up one place to fourth, same as Argentina who rose to fifth.

Euro 2020 champions Italy fell two places to sixth, while Spain and Portugal are unmoved in seventh and eighth respectively.

Denmark and Netherlands also moved up one place each to complete the top 10.

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