DOHA, Qatar (AP) — The United States received a boost for the World Cup draw and Canada took a hit in Thursday’s updated FIFA rankings.
The Americans, who failed to qualify for the last World Cup, will be in Pot 2 after being ranked 15th in the world.
Canada, which won the North American qualifying group and will play at the tournament for the first time in 36 years, missed a chance for a rankings boost by losing at Panama 1-0 in its final qualifier.
Instead, Canada will be among the lowest seeded teams in Pot 4.
The eight groups for the tournament in Qatar will be drawn Friday from four pots.
Qatar gets the top-seeded slot given to the World Cup host nation despite being ranked No. 51.
The other top-seeded teams are Brazil, Belgium, defending champion France, Argentina, England, Spain and Portugal.
Brazil took over as the No. 1 team from Belgium, the first change as the top in three years. Sixth-ranked Italy is the only team from the top 10 that failed to qualify.
Besides the United States, Pot 2 includes Mexico, Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Uruguay, Switzerland and Croatia, while in Pot 3 it’s Senegal, Iran, Japan, Morocco, Serbia, Poland, South Korea and Tunisia.
Three of the 32 entries are still unknown because qualifying hasn’t been completed. Those three entries have all been placed in Pot 4 regardless of the rankings of the teams involved. No. 18 Wales is the highest-ranked of the eight teams left in the playoffs.
The rest of Pot 4 includes Cameroon Ecuador, Saudi Arabia and Ghana along with Canada.
Teams from the same continent will be placed in different groups, except for some Europeans.
Europe has 13 teams in the tournament and five of the eight groups will each get two teams from the continent. The other three groups each get one European team.
Qatar will kick off its home World Cup in the opening game of Group A on Nov. 21. The final is scheduled for Dec. 18 — the host’s National Day.
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