Football: Republic planted in second seed group

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THE REPUBLIC of Ireland are among the second group of seeds for next year's World Cup, the American organisers announced yesterday. The five nations they cannot meet in the first round are Russia, Cameroon, Romania, Mexico and Spain, which is probably a relief following the Spaniards' imperious display at Lansdowne Road.

The top-seeds for the 24-team tournament are the hosts, the United States, and holders, Germany, together with Argentina, Brazil, Italy and Belgium.

The seedings are based on points awarded for teams' performances in the last three World Cups. Although the Republic failed to qualify in 1982 and 1986, they progressed to the last eight in Italy before losing to the hosts.

Each of the six first-round groups for the 1994 World Cup finals will contain one side from the four ranks of seeds. The organising committee will decide which groups play in which cities immediately

after the draw, although Germany will play two of their first three games in Chicago.

SEEDINGS: Group 1: USA, Germany, Argentina,

Italy, Brazil, Belgium.

Group 2: Spain, Russia, Cameroon, Ireland,

Romania, Mexico.

Group 3: Colombia, Netherlands, Morocco, Bulgaria, South Korea, Sweden.

Group 4: Bolivia, Greece, Nigeria, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Switzerland.

Niall Quinn, the Republic's Manchester City striker, will definitely miss the finals but his compatriot, Chris Morris, of Middlesbrough, said yesterday that he hopes to have recovered from his cruciate knee-ligament injury.

Fifa yesterday unveiled plans for a world club cup to be held every two years. Sepp Blatter, the Fifa general secretary, said a 16-team tournament could be held in the summer of 1995 if the plans are approved by Fifa's executive committee next week.

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