World Cup team rankings in full with England fifth and Messi above CR7

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Gareth Southgate’s England side head into the World Cup as the fifth highest-ranked side in world football in the official FIFA rankings. The table provides an indication of form heading into the 32-team mid-season tournament in Qatar which sees Brazil widely considered as favourites as they look to lift the trophy for a record sixth time as the only country to have featured at every World Cup to date since its inception.

The Selecao sit comfortably at the top of the pile having accumulated 1841 points in the latest ranking, which were published back on October 6 as the likes of Neymar and Vinicius Jr bid to fire Tite’s side to glory.

Belgium are somewhat surprisingly in second, meaning they are the highest-ranked European side in what could be their golden generation’s final chance to deliver silverware following their third-place finish in Russia. While Eden Hazard and Romelu Lukaku’s powers have waned, Kevin De Bruyne remains the man tasked with spearheading the Red Devils’ World Cup dream.

Copa America champions Argentina are in third place as Lionel Messi strives to win the World Cup in his final tournament before retirement. The Paris Saint-Germain superstar will be looking to secure GOAT status by picking up a winners’ medal and following in the footsteps of late national hero Diego Maradona.

Defending champions France are in fourth place as Les Bleus look to retain the trophy they won four years ago in Russia but they will have to do it the hard way without injured midfield duo Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante.

England are in fifth place, one spot ahead of European Championship winners Italy, who defeated the Three Lions on penalties in the final at Wembley in the summer of 2021.

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Luis Enrique’s Spain side are in seventh position as they look to emulate the achievements of Vicente del Bosque’s team that triumphed in South Africa in 2010 despite losing their first game to Switzerland.

Holland are in eight as they prepare to participate at their first World Cup since 2014 where they finished third in Brazil before later failing to qualify for Russia in 2018.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal – perceived as one of the dark horses in Qatar – are way down in ninth following an underwhelming few years in the wake of their 2019 Nations League triumph.

Euro 2020 semi-finalists Denmark are in 10th place following a competitive showing at the tournament that was marred by Christian Eriksen’s cardiac arrest. The Manchester United playmaker is set to play an integral role for his side in the Middle East following his remarkable return to football.

Germany, who were dumped out in the group stages in Russia, are in 11 as they seek to win their fifth World Cup. Hansi Flick’s side are enduring a period of transition although they can never be written off.

After defying the odds to reach the final of the World Cup in Russia, Croatia could be another side to avoid as they sit 12th in the world rankings.

Mexico are in 13th place while Uruguay, who are never a soft touch at major tournaments, are in 14th as Luis Suarez looks to make his mark on the world stage once again alongside Liverpool’s Darwin Nunez and long-standing striker partner Edinson Cavani. El Matador is just one goal shy of equaling Diego Forlan’s record of five World Cup goals having starred in Russia.

Potential surprise package Switzerland are in 15th having taken both France (beat them) and Spain to penalties at the European Championships just under 18 months ago.

England’s Group B opponents United States are currently 16th in the rankings while Senegal are Africa’s highest-ranked team in 18th.

Wales, who face USA in their opening fixture before facing England in their final Group B clash, are in 19th as they bid to make history in Qatar.

In order to achieve that, they will have to battle past their final Group B opponent Iran, who are Asia’s highest-ranked side at the competition.

Serbia have made waves in the Nations League with back-to-back promotions and the 21st-ranked side have bundles of goalscoring firepower at their disposal with Aleksandr Mitrovic and Dusan Vlahovic in attack.

Morocco, who are paired with Croatia, Belgium and Canada in Group F, are currently 22nd in the world rankings.

Japan have the capability to throw a spanner in the works for both Spain and Germany in Group E and they are placed at 24th behind Peru.

Robert Lewandowski’s Poland are in 26th as they prepare to lock horns with Argentina, Saudi Arabia and Mexico.

Son Heung-min’s South Korea side, who defied the odds to beat Germany in Russia, are down in 28th.

Tunisia are in 30th while Spain’s Group E opener opponents Costa Rica are in 31st.

Australia are way down in 38th just a few places below their Group D opponents Tunisia, who they face in their second match on November 26.

North American heroes Canada have only featured at one previous tournament back in 1986 when they failed to score a goal. They’re in with Belgium, Croatia and Morocco in Group F as they sit 41st in the world rankings.

Cameroon are in 43rd while Ecuador are one place below in 44th but they will take some satisfaction in knowing they are not the lowest-ranked nation at the tournament because that is Group A opponents and hosts, Qatar.

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