Soccer-Brazil extend lead in world rankings, Spain drop below Italy

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - International Friendly - Brazil v Tunisia - Parc des Princes, Paris, France - September 27, 2022 Brazil's Neymar celebrates scoring their third goal with Raphinha REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes

(Reuters) - In the last change to the FIFA World Rankings before the World Cup starts next month, Brazil increased their lead at the top and Spain dropped below Italy.

Brazil, the only team to have competed in every World Cup finals, will go into next month's tournament in Qatar seeking a record-extending sixth crown.

They will do so with a bigger lead at the top of the rankings after friendly wins over Ghana and Tunisia widened the gap on second-placed Belgium who lost to the Netherlands in the Nations League.

Brazil's great rivals Argentina remained third, with world champions France fourth and Euro 2020 runners-up England fifth.

There was good news for Italy, who failed to qualify for the World Cup finals again, as they climbed above Spain into sixth place.

Other World Cup-bound teams climbing the rankings were Croatia, up three places to 12th, Iran up two spots to 20th and Serbia who rose to 21st.

(Reporting by Peter Hall, editing by Ed Osmond)

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