(Reuters) - Hosts Russia will begin next week’s World Cup as the lowest-ranked of the 32 teams participating in the tournament, according to FIFA’s latest world rankings announced on Thursday.
Russia, who suffered a 1-0 loss to Austria in a friendly last month, slipped four places to 70th in the standings, behind Saudi Arabia at 67th.
The two lowest-ranked teams will kick off the World Cup at Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow on June 14.
World Cup holders Germany stay top after the latest round of international fixtures while the rest of the top seven remained unchanged from May’s rankings.
Poland’s recent form has helped them climb into eighth position at the expense of Spain, who have dropped to 10th, while Uruguay have climbed to 14th. England and Denmark are joint 12th.
Syria (73), Lebanon (79), Kosovo (141) and Gibraltar (195) achieved their best ever positions in the rankings.
Top 10 rankings: (previous positions in brackets)
1. Germany (1)
2. Brazil (2)
3. Belgium (3)
4. Portugal (4)
5. Argentina (5)
6. Switzerland (6)
7. France (7)
8. Poland (10)
9. Chile (9)
Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru; editing by Sudipto Ganguly