Belfast Telegraph

World Cup 2018

Fixtures & Results

Colombia COL 1

Japan JPN 2

REPORT

Poland POL 1

Senegal SEN 2

REPORT

Russia RUS 3

Egypt EGY 1

REPORT

Portugal POR 1

Morocco MAR 0

REPORT

Uruguay URY 1

Saudi Arabia SAU 0

REPORT

Iran IRN 0

Spain ESP 1

REPORT

Denmark DNK 1

Australia AUS 1

REPORT

France FRA 0

Peru PER 0

Ongoing

Argentina ARG

Croatia CRO

Brazil BRA

Costa Rica CRI

Nigeria NGA

Iceland ISL

Serbia SRB

Switzerland SUI

Belgium BEL

Tunisia TUN

South Korea KOR

Mexico MEX

Germany GER

Sweden SWE

England ENG

Panama PAN

Japan JPN

Senegal SEN

Poland POL

Colombia COL

Saudi Arabia SAU

Egypt EGY

Uruguay URY

Russia RUS

Spain ESP

Morocco MAR

Iran IRN

Portugal POR

Denmark DNK

France FRA

Australia AUS

Peru PER

Iceland ISL

Croatia CRO

Nigeria NGA

Argentina ARG

Mexico MEX

Sweden SWE

South Korea KOR

Germany GER

Switzerland SUI

Costa Rica CRI

Serbia SRB

Brazil BRA

Senegal SEN

Colombia COL

Japan JPN

Poland POL

Panama PAN

Tunisia TUN

England ENG

Belgium BEL

Home Sport Football

FIFA rankings underline England’s World Cup challenge

With Belgium in their group, it was never going to be easy for Gareth Southgate’s side.

England face one of the trickier World Cup groups, according to FIFA’s latest world rankings.

Gareth Southgate’s side have climbed to joint-12th in the new standings released on Thursday morning, now nine places below Group G top seeds Belgium.

Tunisia’s fall from 14th to 21st, with Panama ranked 55th, leaves the group average at 22.75 – the third-toughest group going by the updated rankings.

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(PA Graphic)

Groups E (average 16.25) and C (16.5) look the hardest on paper, suggesting a testing start for much-fancied Brazil and France respectively.

Les Bleus are ranked seventh and their group features two more of the world’s top 12 – Peru, in 11th, and Denmark who are ranked alongside England in 12th. Australia have climbed four places since the last update but remain the outsiders of the group in 36th.

World number two side Brazil face the highest-ranked group second seeds as Switzerland go into the tournament ranked sixth in the world. Costa Rica and Serbia have climbed to 23rd and 34th respectively.

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France and Brazil face a battle in the group stage (Adam Davy/EMPICS)

The meeting of neighbours Portugal and Spain, both ranked in the world’s top 10, is the stand-out fixture of the group stage but their group’s rankings average out to a middling 23.

Spain dropping two places to 10th, switching places with Poland, plays its part while Iran have dropped one place to 37th and Morocco have climbed one to 41st.

Germany, ranked number one as they seek to become the first back-to-back champions in 56 years, face opponents ranked 15th, 24th and 57th for a group average of 24.25, third-easiest on paper.

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Joachim Low’s Germany team remain number one in the rankings (Nick Potts/PA)

Hosts Russia are the lowest-ranked nation in the tournament but have the compensation of the easiest group on paper, with an average ranking of 49th.

Their own slump to 70th of course plays a part in that, while Saudi Arabia are only three places higher. Top seeds Uruguay are down at 14th even after climbing three places while Egypt, second-best in the group at 45th, are ranked lower than any team in Groups B, C or E.

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