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Belgium, Columbia, Switzerland will be seeded teams at WC

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The Canadian Press
10/17/2013 4:07:52 PM
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ZURICH, Switzerland -- Belgium, Colombia and Switzerland will be three of the eight seeded teams at the World Cup because of their FIFA ranking.

FIFA decided this month that the seven best-ranked nations in Thursday's list would be seeded alongside host nation Brazil, which is ranked No. 11.

Long-time leader Spain, the defending World Cup champion, remains first in the rankings, followed by Germany and Argentina.

Colombia and Belgium are next despite not playing at the 2010 World Cup, which is still a factor in the rankings over a four-year cycle of results.

Uruguay, a semifinalist in 2010, is No. 6 but must still beat 70th-ranked Jordan in a two-leg playoff next month to enter the World Cup draw on Dec. 6 in Salvador.

Switzerland is seventh, its highest position since 1995.

The Netherlands is No. 8 and will be seeded if Uruguay is eliminated. Italy is officially tied at No. 8, though it trails the Dutch by decimal points.

Seedings in the European playoffs were also decided by Thursday's rankings.

Portugal (No. 14), Greece (No. 15), Croatia (No. 18) and Ukraine (No. 20) will be seeded in next Monday's draw. France (No. 21) missed out by a single ranking point, 871-870.

Sweden (No. 25), Romania (No. 29) and Iceland (No. 46) are also involved.

The United States remains at No. 13 despite two victories in qualifiers against Jamaica and Panama. Mexico drops three to No. 24, and will face New Zealand -- down 12 to No. 79 -- in a playoff next month.

Ivory Coast, which beat Senegal 3-1 in the first leg of a playoff last weekend, is the best of Africa at No. 17.

Japan leads Asia, despite dropping two to No. 44. The other Asian teams at the World Cup are Iran (No. 49), South Korea (No. 56) and Australia (No. 57).

Soccer balls (Photo: Martin Rose/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Martin Rose/Getty Images)
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