Arab Times

Bel­gium top first rankings since pan­demic shut­down

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ZURICH, Sept 17, (AP): The first FIFA men’s world rankings for five months were still led by Bel­gium on Thurs­day after the shut­down of Euro­pean teams dur­ing the coro­n­avirus pan­demic ended in Septem­ber.

Bel­gium lead an un­changed top four na­tions from 2018 World Cup win­ners France, Brazil – which have yet to play in 2020 – and Eng­land.

Por­tu­gal, the reign­ing Euro­pean and UEFA Na­tions League cham­pi­ons, rose two places to No. 5.

Rankings after the Novem­ber in­ter­na­tional break will de­cide seed­ings when FIFA draws the Euro­pean qual­i­fy­ing groups for the 2022 World Cup in early De­cem­ber.

The 10 high­est-ranked Euro­pean teams will be top-seeded in groups where only the win­ners will ad­vance di­rectly to the fi­nals tour­na­ment in Qatar. Three more teams will qual­ify through play­offs sched­uled in March 2022.

Cur­rently, Ger­many are the ninthbest Euro­pean ranked No. 14, and No. 15 Switzer­land would take the last topseeded place in the draw. Den­mark are next at No. 16.

Sene­gal are the top-ranked African na­tion at No. 20, and No. 28 Ja­pan lead Asian con­fed­er­a­tion teams.

World Cup hosts Qatar are ranked No. 55. Rankings 1. Bel­gium (1) 2. France (2) 3. Brazil (3) 4. Eng­land (4) 5. Por­tu­gal (7) 6. Uruguay (5) 7. Spain (8) 8. Croa­tia (6) 9. Ar­gentina (9) 10. Colom­bia (10) 11. Mex­ico (11) 12. Italy (13) 13. Nether­lands (14) 14. Ger­many (15) 15. Switzer­land (12) 16. Den­mark (16) 17. Chile (17) 18. Swe­den (17) 19. Poland (19) 20. Sene­gal (20) (Pre­vi­ous po­si­tion in paren­the­ses)

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