How France or Spain can be seeded at the World Cup finals for Russia 2018
France and Spain both still harbour hopes of being seeded at the World Cup finals in the Dec. 1 group-stage draw. And Wales' failure to qualify certainly gives France a bit of outside hope.
The top-seven nations to qualify, based on FIFA's October World Ranking, will join Russia as seeds.
Guaranteed to be seeded (if they qualify) are: Russia (as hosts), Germany, Poland and Brazil (already qualified), Portugal, Belgium and Argentina.
This leaves at least one space open, and in the September ranking we saw France in eighth and Spain in 11th.
Even though France are just outside the top seven, their ranking score will be 1,226 points. Similarly, Spain will be on 1,218 points.
With the possible results of other nations taken into account, France and Spain are only guaranteed to be 9th and 10th respectively. Therefore, they need other nations to slip up.
For France to be seeded, they must hope at least two of the following happen:
- Argentina fail to qualify
- Chile fail to beat Brazil (away)
- Peru not to win at home to Colombia
For Spain to be seeded they will require all three teams to slip up.
Dale Johnson has been an editor and journalist at ESPN for 18 years. You can follow him on Twitter @dalejohnsonESPN.