Zurich: Brazil will go to this year’s World Cup as the top-rated team after extending their lead over second-place Belgium in the latest Fifa rankings released on Thursday.
Brazil won their two warm-up games in September — against Ghana and Tunisia — while Belgium lost to the Netherlands in one of their two Nations League games.
Argentina stayed at No 3 and 2018 World Cup champion France is still at No 4.
The World Cup in Qatar starts on November 20.
Host Qatar will be the 50th-ranked team, just ahead of No 51 Saudi Arabia. Ghana will be the lowest-ranked team at No 61.
Group B at the World Cup is the strongest by rankings with all four teams in the top 20 — No 5 England, No 16 United States, No 19 Wales and No 20 Iran.
Italy rose one place to No 6 and are the highest-ranked team that failed to qualify for the World Cup, missing back-to-back editions. Spain fell one place to No 7, with Netherlands, Portugal and Denmark unchanged to complete the top 10.
Germany, the 2014 champion, are No 11, just ahead of 2018 finalist Croatia. Also, Russia rose two places to No 33 despite not playing a recognised game in 2022 because the national team was suspended following the country’s invasion of Ukraine.