Colombia rose to number four in the FIFA World Rankings on Thursday, meaning that they will be one of the top seeds at next year’s World Cup in Brazil.
After a thrilling 3-3 draw with Chile last week, Colombia booked their place at Brazil 2014, which will represent their first appearance at the World Cup finals since France 1998.
“Los Cafeteros” ended up second in the South American qualifying group, just two points behind Argentina, after Tuesday’s 2-1 win over Paraguay.
Colombia occupied third place in the FIFA rankings in July, but fell to fifth after a 2-0 defeat away to Uruguay in September. Uruguay, who beat Argentina 3-2 in their last qualifying match, are sixth in the rankings. But to ensure their spot in Brazil they will have to beat Jordan in a play-off match.
At the World Cup Finals the top seven teams, in addition to hosts Brazil, will occupy the top-seeded spots in the eight groups. The idea is that the best teams cannot face each other until the knock-out stage of the competition.
Holland are currently in eighth place, meaning that if Uruguay fail to beat Jordan they will become one of the top seeds. But if, as expected, Uruguay qualify, then Holland – the World Cup finalists from 2010 – will be in the group of second seeds. They represent formidable opponents, as demonstrated by their recent 8-1 thrashing of Hungary.
Also in the group of second seeds will be England, who jumped seven places in the rankings to tenth after successive victories over Montenegro and Poland.
Italy (8), the world champions in 2006, dropped out of the group of top seeds, replaced by Switzerland (7), after drawing with minnows Armenia in their final group match.
Top of the pile is still Spain, followed by Germany and Argentina. The USA kept their spot at 13.