Belgium tops first FIFA rankings since pandemic shutdown | Inquirer Sports
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Belgium tops first FIFA rankings since pandemic shutdown

/ 06:32 PM September 17, 2020

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Belgium’s forward Dries Mertens (C) is congratulated by teammates after scoring a goal during the UEFA Nations League football match between Belgium and Iceland at the King Baudouin stadium in Brussels on September 8, 2020. (Photo by JOHN THYS / AFP) / “The erroneous mention[s] appearing in the metadata of this photo by JOHN THYS has been modified in AFP systems in the following manner: [Belgium] instead of [Netherlands]. Please immediately remove the erroneous mention[s] from all your online services and delete it (them) from your servers. If you have been authorized by AFP to distribute it (them) to third parties, please ensure that the same actions are carried out by them. Failure to promptly comply with these instructions will entail liability on your part for any continued or post notification usage. Therefore we thank you very much for all your attention and prompt action. We are sorry for the inconvenience this notification may cause and remain at your disposal for any further information you may require.”

ZURICH — 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.

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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.

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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.

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.

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.

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TAGS: Belgium, Brazil, England, Fifa, Football, France, UEFA Nations League
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