France among top seeds for December's World Cup draw

France will be among the top seeds for the World Cup draw after they climbed to seventh in the Fifa rankings published yesterday.

The draw for next year's Finals will be held in Moscow on Dec 1, when the 32 teams will be divided into four pots according to their rankings.

The seven top-ranked sides plus hosts Russia go into pot one, the next eight ranked teams will be in pot two and so on.

Each of the eight four-team first-round groups will comprise one team from each pot.

Based on the latest rankings, the top seven teams are Germany, Brazil, Portugal, Argentina, Belgium, Poland and France - all among the 23 sides who have qualified for the World Cup.

Spain will be in pot two, where they will be joined by England, Colombia, Mexico and Uruguay. Peru, Switzerland and Italy, who all face play-offs next month, will also go into pot two if they qualify.

Peru, who face New Zealand next month as they attempt to end a 36-year absence from the World Cup, climbed into the top 10 for the first time.

New Zealand are 122nd, the lowest of any team still in contention.

South American champions Chile, ninth, were the highest-ranked team to fail to qualify.

The rankings also confirmed that Switzerland, Italy, Croatia and Denmark will be the seeded teams for the European play-offs, which will be drawn tonight and played over two legs.

Northern Ireland, Ireland, Greece and Sweden are the other teams involved.

Iceland, the smallest country to qualify for a World Cup, will either be in pot two or three depending on who else qualifies. Panama, the other debutants, will be in pot four.

Nigeria and Serbia could also end up in pot four, depending who goes through from the play-offs. - REUTERS

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