Nearly time for the FIFA World Cup draw

The scene is all set for all 32 participating member associations to learn their paths to possible glory with the draw for the FIFA World Cup taking place on 1 December (18:00 local time) in Moscow’s State Kremlin Palace.

The October 2017 edition of the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking has been used to allocate all qualified teams to the four pots in descending order, with the best seven teams along with hosts Russia in pot 1.

The draw sequence will start with pot 1 and end with pot 4. Each pot will be completely emptied before moving on to the next. As per the usual standard FIFA procedure, a ball from a team pot will be drawn, followed by a ball from one of the group pots, thus determining the position in which the respective team will play.

In pot 1, Russia will be a red ball and has already been pre-assigned the position of A1 as the host country, allowing it to play in the opening game on 14 June. Ironically Russia is the lowest ranked team playing in the World Cup.

The remaining seven teams in pot 1 will automatically be drawn into position 1 of each group (B to H), whereas teams in pots 2, 3 and 4 will be drawn into positions randomly in their groups.

FIFA’s general principle is also to ensure that no group has more than one team from the same qualification zone drawn into it. This is applicable to all zones except Europe, which is represented by 14 teams. Each group must have at least one but no more than two European teams drawn into it. As such, six out of the eight groups will feature two European teams.

The distribution of the teams into the groups according to the geographic separation principle will be monitored by a system designed to take all parameters into account, which means that groups may be skipped. For example, Peru, Colombia and Uruguay, which are in pot 2, will not be drawn into the same group with Brazil or Argentina, which are in pot one. The same principle will apply to the teams from the other confederations with the exception of UEFA.

The Final 32 for Russia 2018

208 countries entered for the 2018 World Cup, but there is only space for just 32 teams in Russia. To qualify a total of 871 games were played between 12 March 2015 and 15 November 2017 with 2,469 goals being scored.

The 32 teams to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, their FIFA rankings, and how they performed in Brazil are:

  1. Argentina (4) – Finalist – Runner-up in Brazil
  2. Australia  (43) – Knocked out at the group stage in Brazil
  3. Belgium (5) – Quarter finalist in Brazil
  4. Brazil (2) – Semi finalist- 4th place in Brazil
  5. Colombia (13) – Quarter finalist in Brazil
  6. Costa Rica (22) – Quarter finalist in Brazil
  7. Croatia (18) – Knocked out at the group stage in Brazil
  8. Denmark (19) – Last played in the World Cup Finals in 2010
  9. Egypt (30) – Last played in the World Cup Finals in 1990
  10. England (12) – Knocked out at the group stage in Brazil
  11. France (7) – Quarter finalist in Brazil
  12. Germany (1) – Finalist – 2014 World Champions in Brazil
  13. Iceland (21) – First World Cup Finals appearance
  14. Iran (31) – Knocked out at the group stage in Brazil
  15. Japan (44) – Knocked out at the group stage in Brazil
  16. Mexico (16) – Knocked out in the round of 16 in Brazil
  17. Morocco (48) – Last played in the World Cup Finals in 2010
  18. Nigeria (41) – Knocked out in the round of 16 in Brazil
  19. Panama (49) – First World Cup Finals appearance
  20. Peru (10) – Last played in the World Cup Finals in 1982
  21. Poland (6) – Last played in the World Cup Finals in 2006
  22. Portugal (3) – Knocked out at the group stage in Brazil
  23. Russia (65) – Knocked out at the group stage in Brazil
  24. Saudi Arabia (63) – Last played in the World Cup Finals in 2006
  25. Senegal (32) – Last played in the World Cup Finals in 2002
  26. Serbia (38) – Last played in the World Cup Finals in 2010
  27. South Korea (62) – Knocked out at the group stage in Brazil
  28. Spain (8) – Knocked out at the group stage in Brazil
  29. Sweden (25) – Last played in the World Cup Finals in 2006
  30. Switzerland (11) – Knocked out in the round of 16 in Brazil
  31. Tunisia (28) – Last played in the World Cup Finals in 2006
  32. Uruguay (17) – Knocked out in the round of 16 in Brazil

Of the 32 teams playing in Russia, 20 of them are returning after the previous tournament in Brazil in 2014, which means 12 teams that played in Brazil won’t be in Russia, but 12 teams new teams are. New since Brazil are Denmark, Egypt, Iceland (first World Cup Finals appearance), Morocco, Panama, (first World Cup Finals appearance), Peru, Poland, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Sweden and Tunisia. Nigeria is the only African side to return to the World Cup Finals after Brazil, while Brazil was the first team to qualify.

Germany top first FIFA world rankings post 2014 World Cup

Germany ChampionsThe new four-time world champions, Germany, top the first post-tournament FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking. The World Cup Final against Agentina was also a duel for the leading position in the world ranking – with Joachim Low’s team coming out on top on both counts.

Germany top the table for the first time in around 20 years, followed by Argentina and the Netherlands. Holland’s third-place finish at the World Cup has lifted them 12 positions up the table and back into the top ten. All of the teams that were knocked out of the World Cup in the quarter-finals have climbed up the ranking: Colombia (fourth, up four), Belgium  (fifth, up six), France (tenth, up seven) and Costa Rica (16th, up 12 – the country’s highest-ever ranking).

If the winners have gained, the less successful teams are left counting the cost of failure in terms of ranking positions. Former champions Spain have fallen from the top spot to eighth place, with Portugal 11th, down seven; Italy 14th, down five; and England 20th, down ten. Despite reaching the semi-finals, World Cup hosts Brazil have dropped four places to seventh position.

The results of 111 international “A” matches have been taken into account for the current edition of the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking, of which 64 were played at the World Cup, 46 were friendlies and one was a CONCACAF continental qualifier. In this qualifier for the CONCACAF Gold Cup 2015, Turks and Caicos Islands (181st, up 26) celebrated their first victory in over six years against the British Virgin Islands, lifting them off the bottom of the table. The total number of international “A” matches taken into account by FIFA so far this year is now 362.

The world’s top 50 ranked countries on 17 July 2014 following the World Cup are:

1 Germany
2 Argentina
3 Netherlands
4 Colombia
5 Belgium
6 Uruguay
7 Brazil
8 Spain
9 Switzerland
10 France
11 Portugal
12 Chile
13 Greece
14 Italy
15 USA
16 Costa Rica
17 Croatia
18 Mexico
19 Bosnia and Herzegovina
20 England
21 Ecuador
22 Ukraine
23 Russia
24 Algeria
25 Côte d’Ivoire
26 Denmark
27 Scotland
28 Romania
29 Sweden
30 Venezuela
31 Serbia
32 Turkey
33 Panama
34 Nigeria
35 Czech Republic
36 Egypt
37 Slovenia
38 Hungary
38 Ghana
40 Honduras
41 Armenia
42 Tunisia
43 Austria
44 Wales
45 Japan
46 Slovakia
47 Iceland
48 Paraguay
49 Iran
50 Montenegro


Brazil is the highest ranked World Cup host ever

Brasil logoBrazil, which has climbed from 22nd on the FIFA World Rankings in June 2013 to 3rd in June 2014, will be the highest ever ranked host nation for the World Cup Finals.

The previous highest ranked host was France in 1998. Ranked 18th at the the time, the French went on to win the cup, beating Brazil, then ranked number one in the world, in the final. In 2006 the German hosts had been ranked 19th, while in 2010 South Africa were ranked 83rd at the time they hosted the World Cup.

FIFA world rankings for the World Cup at June 2014

There were some small changes in the final edition of the FIFA World Rankings published on 5 June 2014 prior to the 2014 FIFA World Cup kicking off on 12 June.

The leading duo of Spain and Germany remain unchanged, but host Brazil will start the tournament in third place, having leapfrogged Portugal, while Argentina (5th, up 2) and Switzerland (6th, up 2) have each climbed two places and England (10th, up 1) have returned to the top ten at the expense of Greece (12th, down 2).

A glance at the respective strengths of the World Cup groups makes for interesting reading: taking the average ranks and points totals of each set of four teams into account, Group D (Uruguay, Costa Rica, England, Italy) and Group G (Germany, Portugal, Ghana, USA) are the strongest groups. Group D is the only one containing three top-ten teams, while Group H (Belgium, Algeria, Russia, Korea Republic) has no such team.

Of the top thirty-two ranked teams in the world (the same number of teams as at the World Cup), nine teams will not be in Brazil. They are Ukraine (16th), Denmark (23rd), Egypt (24th), Slovenia (25th), Scotland (27th), Romania (29th), Serbia (30th), Panama (31st) and Sweden (32nd).

The top 30 ranked teams in the world at the time of the World Cup were:

1 Spain
2 Germany
3 Brazil
4 Portugal
5 Argentina
6 Switzerland
7 Uruguay
8 Colombia
9 Italy
10 England
11 Belgium
12 Greece
13 USA
14 Chile
15 Netherlands
16 Ukraine
17 France
18 Croatia
19 Russia
20 Mexico
21 Bosnia and Herzegovina
22 Algeria
23 Denmark
23 Côte d’Ivoire
25 Slovenia
26 Ecuador
27 Scotland
28 Costa Rica
29 Romania
30 Serbia

FIFA world rankings for May 2014

Due to the lack of football friendlies in April, the May edition of the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking reflects the results of just 13 new matches. As a result no fewer than 143 teams have retained their April ranking.There has been some movement in the top ten, however, with Brazil climbing two places to fourth to lead the pack of four South American teams. The world Cup hosts now sit ahead of Colombia (5th, down 1), Uruguay (6th, down 1) and Argentina (7th, down 1). It is Brazil’s highest ranking since July 2011.

This tightly packed quartet now have the European trio of Spain (1st, unchanged), Germany (2nd, unchanged) and Portugal (3rd, unchanged) in their sights. Spain has held the top spot since September 2011.

Honduras (30th, up 2) is celebrating a return to the top 30 after an absence of 12 years, while the biggest climb in the chart has been registered by Mauritania in north-west Africa (139th, up 13), thanks to two wins in CAF Africa Cup of Nations qualifying. Of the top thirty-two ranked teams in the world (the same number of teams as at the World Cup), eight teams will not be in Brazil. They are Ukraine (17th), Scotland (22nd), Denmark (23rd), Egypt (24th), Sweden (25th), Slovenia (29th), Serbia (30th) and Romania (32nd).

The next FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking, and the final one prior to the World Cup, will be published on 5 June 2014.

1 Spain
2 Germany
3 Portugal
4 Brazil
5 Colombia
6 Uruguay
7 Argentina
8 Switzerland
9 Italy
10 Greece
11 England
12 Belgium
13 Chile
14 USA
15 Netherlands
16 France
17 Ukraine
18 Russia
19 Mexico
20 Croatia
21 Côte d’Ivoire
22 Scotland
23 Denmark
24 Egypt
25 Bosnia and Herzegovina
25 Sweden
25 Algeria
28 Ecuador
29 Slovenia
30 Serbia
30 Honduras