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Davis to become only third NI player to earn 100 caps

Captain Steven Davis is set to become only the third Northern Ireland player to reach the special milestone of earning 100 international caps.

Davis will join the exclusive club, whose only other members are Pat Jennings and Aaron Hughes, when the team take on Switzerland at Windsor Park on Thursday night.

But, in typically modest fashion, the 32-year-old wants the World Cup play-off game to be all about the result.

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NI move up into top 20 in FIFA World Rankings

Northern Ireland are up to a record high of 20th in the latest FIFA World Rankings.

Michael O'Neill's side recorded back-to-back wins over San Marino and Czech Republic to seal second place in their World Cup qualifiers.

Just five years ago, Northern Ireland were at their lowest in the world rankings when they sat 129th.

But five wins from five in this calendar year sees them inside the top 20 for the first time in their history.

The result is also crucial for the World Cup playoffs next month. As it stands, Northern Ireland would be among the four seeded teams, meaning they would avoid the likes of Portugal and Italy.

Qualifiers next month against Germany and Norway will decide the ranking for the playoff draw, which Northern Ireland look almost certain to be a part of on October 17.

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Brendan Rodgers backs NI to reach World Cup

  • WATCH: Brendan Rodgers talks to UTV at the Devenish in Belfast

Co Antrim-born Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers has tipped Michael O’Neill’s Northern Ireland side to reach the World Cup in Russia.

“To create the spirit and the identity which he has with the squad, and for all the players to want to be there, to qualify for the championships was absolutely brilliant,” Rodgers told UTV.

“To go on and maybe then go to the World Cup and continue and sustain that, it takes a huge effort.

“I don’t think anyone would fancy playing Northern Ireland – and let’s hope they can go on and make another great achievement.”

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