SA now 85 in Fifa rankings

ZURICH - World Cup hosts South Africa dropped 12 places to No 85 while Brazil stayed top of the latest world rankings published on Friday by Fifa, that determine the seeded European teams in playoffs to reach the finals.

ZURICH - World Cup hosts South Africa dropped 12 places to No 85 while Brazil stayed top of the latest world rankings published on Friday by Fifa, that determine the seeded European teams in playoffs to reach the finals.

European champions Spain closed the gap on the Confederations Cup winners but remained second, followed by the Netherlands. World champions Italy broke a tie in last month's rankings with Germany to stand alone as No 4.

Argentina's victories after late goals against Peru and Uruguay in the past week helped them climb two places to No 6, ahead of England.

Croatia rose one place to No 8 even though they were eliminated from the World Cup after trailing England and Ukraine in their group.

The seeded teams for the playoffs that will decide the final four European nations going to next year's tournament in South Africa are France, Portugal, Russia and Greece.

France moved up a place to No 9, Portugal climbed seven spots to No 10, Russia dropped six places to No 12, while Greece are 16th.

They will be drawn against four non-seeded teams, led by No 22 Ukraine, Ireland (34), Bosnia (42) and Slovenia (49). The playoff draw will be made today at Fifa headquarters in Zurich. The matches are scheduled for November 14 and 18.

Cameroon, who can clinch their place next month, head the African nations at No 14 after jumping 15 places. Ivory Coast, who have qualified, are next best at No 19. - Sapa-AP

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