Associated Press

Belgium tops first FIFA rankings since pandemic shutdown

Associated Press logo Associated Press 17/09/2020 10:48:08
Belgium's Dries Mertens, center right, jubilates with Belgium's Kevin De Bruyne, center, left, after scoring his sides third goal during the UEFA Nations League soccer match between Belgium and Iceland, at the King Baudouin stadium in Brussels, Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco) © Provided by Associated PressBelgium's Dries Mertens, center right, jubilates with Belgium's Kevin De Bruyne, center, left, after scoring his sides third goal during the UEFA Nations League soccer match between Belgium and Iceland, at the King Baudouin stadium in Brussels, Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

ZURICH (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 leads an unchanged top four nations from 2018 World Cup winner France, Brazil -- which has yet to play in 2020 -- and England.

Portugal, the reigning European and UEFA Nations League champion, 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 winner will advance directly to the finals tournament in Qatar. Three more teams will qualify through playoffs scheduled in March 2022.

France's Kylian Mbappe celebrates his scoring a goal during the UEFA Nations League soccer match between Sweden and France at Friends Arena, Saturday, Sept. 5, 2020, in Stockholm, Sweden. (Christine Olsson/TT via AP) © Provided by Associated PressFrance's Kylian Mbappe celebrates his scoring a goal during the UEFA Nations League soccer match between Sweden and France at Friends Arena, Saturday, Sept. 5, 2020, in Stockholm, Sweden. (Christine Olsson/TT via AP)

Currently, Germany is the ninth-best European ranked No. 14, and No. 15 Switzerland would take the last top-seeded place in the draw. Denmark is next at No. 16.

Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo sticks out his tongue during the Portugal against Sweden UEFA Nations League Group stage soccer match at Friends Arena in Stockholm, Sweden, Tuesday Sept. 8, 2020. (Janerik Henriksson/TT via AP) © Provided by Associated PressPortugal's Cristiano Ronaldo sticks out his tongue during the Portugal against Sweden UEFA Nations League Group stage soccer match at Friends Arena in Stockholm, Sweden, Tuesday Sept. 8, 2020. (Janerik Henriksson/TT via AP)

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

World Cup host Qatar is ranked No. 55.

___

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports


Video: French soccer fans celebrate despite COVID-19 resurgence (Reuters)

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17. syyskuuta 2020 13:48:08 Categories: Associated Press

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