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Last Updated: Wednesday, 24 October 2007, 10:40 GMT 11:40 UK
Scots close in on England ranking
James McFadden in action for Scotland
James McFadden's goals have taken Scotland to new heights
Scotland are on the verge of overtaking England after rising to their highest position in the Fifa world rankings.

Despite their 2-0 loss in Georgia, the Scots have moved from 14th to 13th - two places behind England, who fell to 11th from ninth after losing to Russia.

The top nine European teams are seeded for the 2010 World Cup qualifers.

Argentina head the rankings, Brazil are second, Italy third, the managerless Republic of Ireland are 32nd, Northern Ireland 36th and Wales 58th.

FIFA WORLD RANKINGS
1 Argentina
2 Brazil
3 Italy
4 France
5 Germany
6 Spain
7 Holland
8 Portugal
9 Czech Republic
10 Croatia

Selected others:
11 England
13 Scotland
32 Republic of Ireland
36 Northern Ireland
58 Wales

If Scotland maintain their current position, they will qualify for the second group of seeds, a significant improvement from their Euro 2008 campaign, where they were among the fourth-ranked teams.

And their position could improve further if the Scots beat world champions Italy in their final Euro 2008 qualifier on 17 November, a match they must realistically win to reach the finals next year.

It is a tough assignment for Alex McLeish's side against the World Cup holders, but they have reason for hope after taking maximum points from their previous home qualifying games against the Faroes, France, Georgia, Lithuania and the Ukraine.

England's hopes of finishing in the top nine have been severely dented following their defeat in Moscow.

The battle for qualification from Group E is now out of England's hands.

606: DEBATE

Croatia need only one point from their remaining two games to qualify. Russia will qualify if they win their remaining two games, while England, who play Croatia at Wembley in their last game, need Russia to slip up.

Meanwhile, the Republic's failure to qualify for the tournament in Austria and Switzerland led to the Football Association of Ireland terminating the contract of manager Steve Staunton by mutual consent.

Under-21 boss Don Givens will take temporary charge of the senior side.



SEE ALSO
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Strachan backs Scots to qualify
18 Oct 07 |  Internationals
McLeish still positive in defeat
17 Oct 07 |  Internationals
O'Neill rebuffs England job talk
19 Oct 07 |  Internationals
FA boss gives backing to McClaren
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Hiddink mocks England's tactics
21 Oct 07 |  Internationals
Staunton leaves Republic boss job
24 Oct 07 |  Internationals
Georgia 2-0 Scotland
17 Oct 07 |  Internationals
Russia 2-1 England
17 Oct 07 |  Internationals


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