Nigeria national football team players pose prior to the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying football match between Nigeria and Cameroon at Godswill Akpabio International Stadium in Uyo, southern Nigeria, on September 1, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / PIUS UTOMI EKPEI
England is praying to avoid the Super Eagles at next year’s FIFA World Cup in Russia. The Three Lions have already qualified for the World Cup from the Euro group, but they are ranked 12th in the world, which means they will not be among the seeded teams.
An analysis by English tabloid, The Sun paints a ‘scary’ picture of England being paired in a ‘group of death’ with Germany, Brazil, Portugal, Argentina, Belgium, Poland, France and hosts Russia as top seeds.
It said: “England could even be drawn in a group of death with Brazil or Argentina, and possibly Nigeria from Pot 4.”The paper believes that a likely nightmare group would see England facing Brazil, Iceland and Nigeria at the preliminary stage.
Despite easily topping their qualifying pool, the Three Lions have missed out on being a top seed when the groups are drawn for next summer’s World Cup at the Kremlin on December 1.
Instead, hosts Russia will be joined by Germany, Brazil, Portugal, Argentina, Belgium, Poland and France, the leading seven countries in the next set of Fifa world rankings being published on Monday.
According to the analysis, England, set to be 12th, will be in the second seeding block.That at least ensures they cannot play Spain or 2014 group opponents Uruguay and Italy, although they could be drawn with Costa Rica.
But unless Italy, Switzerland and Peru all blow up in play-offs next month, England could be in line for a reunion with their Euro 2016 nemesis Iceland.The final seeding pots will not be confirmed until after the remaining nine qualifiers conclude on November 15.
There are four more places up for grabs in Europe, three in Africa and two from the intercontinental play-offs, which pit New Zealand against Peru and Honduras with Australia.Fifa, though, have already announced a change from the previous policy of splitting the qualified teams into geographical sections.