World Cup play-offs draw tonight

France, Portugal, Russia and Greece have been confirmed as the seeded teams for tonight’s World Cup play-off draw.

The quartet, who all finished second in their respective European qualifying pools, earn their seeded status due to being the top four of the eight play-off teams in the latest FIFA world rankings.

The unseeded pot includes the other four best runners-up – Ukraine, Republic of Ireland, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Slovenia.

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Raymond Domenech’s France are the top-ranked play-off team in ninth, one ahead of Portugal who clinched second place in Group One on Wednesday. Carlos Queiroz’s side have risen seven places in the rankings thanks to their positive end to the qualifying campaign.

Guus Hiddink’s Russia, who finished second in Group Four behind Germany, slip six spots to 12th while 2004 European champions Greece lie 16th.

Ukraine, who spoiled England’s perfect qualifying record with a 1-0 win in Dnipropetrovsk last Saturday, are the top-ranked unseeded team at 22nd with Giovanni Trapattoni’s Republic 34th, Bosnia-Herzegovina 42nd and Slovenia 49th.

At the top of the FIFA world rankings issued today, Brazil have maintained a slender advantage over European champions Spain, Holland and world champions Italy – who topped Groups Five, Nine and Eight respectively.

Germany dropped one place to fifth while Argentina, who clinched their place in South Africa from the South American qualifying zone with a 1-0 win over Uruguay in Montevideo on Wednesday, climb two places to sixth.

Hosts South Africa (85th) and North Korea (91st) are the only teams from outside the top 50 who will be present at next year’s event.

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