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Saturday 25 Jul 2015
2018 Fifa World Cup Draw Details

The top team from each group will qualify for the finals in Russia with the eight best second-placed teams going into the play-offs.

Germany (FIFA World Ranking: 2)
Last Meeting: 4th June 2005 (Friendly) Northern Ireland 1-4 Germany
Manager: Joachim Löw since July 2006
Current Form: 2nd in UEFA European Championship Qualifying Group D, 13 points from six games

The current World Champions are no strangers to Belfast, albeit their last visit was back in 2005 when they provided the opposition in the Irish FA's 125th anniversary celebrations.

Northern Ireland do, of course, have a rich pedigree against Germany stretching back to the 1958 World Cup Finals and including the famous back-to-back victories in the 1984 European Championship qualifiers.

Czech Republic (FIFA World Ranking: 20)
Last Meeting: 14th October 2009 (WCQ) Czech Republic 0-0 Northern Ireland
Manager: Pavel Vrba since December 2013
Current Form: 2nd in UEFA European Championship Qualifying Group A, 13 points from six games

Northern Ireland last locked horns with the Czech Republic during the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign with the games in Belfast and Prague both ending scoreless.

And as with Germany, memories will be evoked of the legendary victories over Czechoslovakia in the 1958 finals.

Norway (FIFA World Ranking: 67)
Last Meeting: 29th February 2012 (Friendly) Northern Ireland 0-3 Norway
Manager: Per-Mathias Høgmo since September 2013
Current Form: 3rd in UEFA European Championship Qualifying Group H, ten points from six games

Norway provided the opposition in Michael O'Neill's first game in charge, a role they also fulfilled as Lawrie Sanchez began his time in the hotseat back in 2004 - although that night will be better remembered for David Healy's goal which ended our long scoring drought!

Competitively, the countries last met as long ago as October 1975 when goals from Sammy Morgan, Sammy McIlroy and Bryan Hamilton saw Northern Ireland sweep to a 3-0 European Championship qualifying victory.

Azerbaijan (FIFA World Ranking: 108)
Last Meeting: 11th October 2013 (WCQ) Azerbaijan 2-0 Northern Ireland
Manager: Robert Prosinečki since November 2014
Current Form: 5th in UEFA European Championship Qualifying Group H, four points from six games

Despite only being accepted into FIFA as recently as 1994 following independence a few years earlier Azerbaijan have met Northern Ireland four times.

Most recently, of course, Michael O'Neill's charges were paired with the Azeris in the last World Cup qualifying campaign, sharing the goals in Belfast before going down 2-0 in Baku.

San Marino (FIFA World Ranking: 192)
Last Meeting: 11th February 2009 (WCQ) San Marino 0-3 Northern Ireland
Manager: Pier-Angelo Manzaroli since February 2014
Current Form: 6th in UEFA European Championship Qualifying Group E, one point from six games

The so-called minnows of the group, San Marino should not be underestimated as Estonia almost found out to their cost in the current European Championship qualifiers, scraping a scoreless draw in the Stadio Olimpico.

The nations have been drawn together only once before, during the 2010 qualifying campaign, with a 4-0 win at Windsor Park being followed by a three-goal victory in Serravalle.

Please note that FIFA will announce the group fixtures tomorrow (Sunday).

Tickets for the world cup qualifiers are not on sale yet.  Please join the Irish FA mailing list on www.irishfa.com/mailinglist to receive priority information.