Should the U.S. Men’s National Team qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, they may end up in another so-called “Group of Death.”
FIFA confirmed on Thursday that it will use October’s FIFA World Rankings to sort the 32 qualifying nations into four pots, with the top seven-ranking teams plus Russia landing in pot 1. Pots two through four will be filled in descending order by the rest of the qualified nations.
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This is different than in previous years, where the top seven teams made pot one and the rest of the pots were organized by region.
As of September’s world rankings, which was released Thursday as well, the USMNT sits in 28th place. Of teams that have qualified for the World Cup, only Japan (40), South Korea (51) and Saudi Arabia (53) are ranked worse than the USMNT. Host Russia is ranked 64th.
The current top seven ranked nations by FIFA are Germany, Brazil, Portugal, Argentina, Belgium, Poland, and Switzerland.