England V Poland: France Could Be Play-off Opponents

Franck Ribery - England v Poland: France could be play-off opponents

While Englands qualification fate remains in their own hands, with a victory against the Poles enough to confirm top spot in Group H, the combination of a Ukraine win against San Marino and a draw or defeat for England would leave the Football Association anxiously awaiting the outcome of next Mondays play-off draw in Zurich. Fifa has confirmed that the play-offs will be seeded, with their world ranking table used to decide the seedings. A Fifa statement said: 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. Related Articles France reunited as force to be reckoned with 13 Oct 2013 The good news for England is that, as the rankings and qualification groups stand, they would sneak into the quartet of top seeds alongside Croatia, Portugal and Greece. And although top seeds will benefit from playing the second-leg at home, England could end up with a hazardous double-header against the likes of France, Sweden or Turkey all of whom will be in the unseeded group. Fifa was subjected to criticism in 2009 when the seeding system was used for the play-offs for the 2010 World Cup. That draw saw the Republic of Ireland drawn against the French, who ultimately progressed to South Africa in controversial circumstances following Thierry Henrys double-handball prior to William Gallass decisive goal in Paris. At the time, Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni condemned the seeding of the play-offs as the death of football, while goalkeeper Shay Given branded the move as disgusting and totally unfair on the smaller nations. With some groups still in a state of flux ahead of Tuesdays final qualifiers four teams can claim runners-up spot in Group B the final line-up of the play-offs remains impossible to predict. The runner-up with the weakest record in qualifying will miss out on the play-offs, with the four teams (Bulgaria, Denmark, Czech Republic and Armenia) slugging it out for second spot in Group B the likeliest to suffer that fate. But if England do find themselves playing off for a spot in Brazil next month, their best hope will be a two-legged clash against Iceland or Slovenia currently vying for second spot in Group E rather than a head-to-head with the French.

France pledges more troops to Central Africa

We will not let you down, we will tackle this situation seriously,” Fabius said. A French soldier of the BOALI operation in the Central African Republic looks through his scope at a The impoverished landlocked country is a little larger than France but sparsely populated and Djotodia is facing the same difficulty as his predecessors in extending his authority beyond the capital. Chaos followed Bozize’s ouster and reports of widespread summary executions, looting and abuses against civilians spurred the international community into action. Former Seleka commanders gone rogue have established mini-fiefdoms scattered across the country in which they sew terror. In some areas, villagers have responded by forming vigilantes, some of which have specifically targeted Muslims. Government forces now face the daunting task of bringing all these groups under control. “The situation in one word: desperate. What is unique is that the entire population is impacted by the conflict,” Europe’s humanitarian aid commissioner Kristalina Georgieva said in Bangui. French soldier of the BOALI operation in Central African Republic stand guard at a checkpoint near B “We need to do humanitarian (work) but also restoring the state, because if the state is gone, warlords are going to take over,” said Georgieva. The visit comes just days after the UN Security Council called for a possible UN peacekeeping force for the country to shore up the 1,400-strong African Union mission (MISCA). The UN resolution drafted by former colonial power France and approved by the Security Council on Thursday voiced deep concern at the “total breakdown of law and order.” Some 1.6 million people nationwide — one third of the population — need humanitarian aid and nearly 300,000 are internally displaced or have fled to neighbouring countries, according to UN figures. “There’s an explosive cocktail in Central Africa, and we fear it could become a call to arms for all militant groups in the region,” a French diplomat said on condition of anonymity.

Soccer-World Cup playoff seeding system unfair, say France

World and European champions Spain are three points ahead in Group I and host Georgia in their final qualifier on Tuesday when second-placed France, who look certain to go through to the playoffs, entertain Finland. The playoff seeds will be determined by FIFA rankings and 25th-placed France face a likely clash with another big footballing nation. Les Bleus believe the system is flawed because fewer ranking points were available in five-nation Group I while the other sections all contained six teams. “We’re going to contact (FIFA),” French Federation president Noel Le Graet told the radio station RMC. “There is a little injustice between the group of five and the groups of six. “Our rivals from other groups have been able to score more points … that’s a fact.” (Reporting by Gregory Blachier, editing by Tony Jimenez) Sports & Recreation EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) — There were smiles in the Pittsburgh Steelers’ locker room for the first time this season. The Associated Press More like this Remove An ugly incident at Fenway Park climaxed in an ejected fan allegedly telling an African-American man: ‘Bye, Trayvon’. Yahoo Sports FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) — Thousands of fans had given up on Tom Brady and the Patriots. The Associated Press BOSTON (AP) — With one swing, David Ortiz tied the game and helped the Boston Red Sox send the AL championship series to Detroit tied one game apiece. The Associated Press ARLINGTON, Texas — A bend-but-don’t-break defense and a huge special teams performance carried the Dallas Cowboys to a division win Sunday night.