France likely to be unseeded in World Cup play-offs

Les Bleus sit a lowly 25th in the Fifa Ranking for September and are therefore not expected to claim one of the four seeded spots for the Uefa qualifying section's knock-out round
France could face a nightmare draw against Portugal in the play-offs for the 2014 World Cup later this month as they are set to be unseeded for the draw.

Didier Deschamps' side sit a lowly 25th in the September edition of the Fifa Ranking following a dismal string of results earlier in the year against Uruguay, Brazil, Belgium and Georgia.

They sit below Greece, Portugal, Croatia and Sweden, who are all gunning for second-placed finishes in their respective qualification groups.

The four seeds for the draw will be determined by the next edition of the ranking, which is to be released on October 17, when the first phase of European qualifiers has come to an end.

It does not bode well for les Bleus. Portugal, ranked 11th, Greece, a position below the Seleccao, and 10th-placed Croatia are all uncatchable in the rankings.

Meanwhile, Sweden are likely to occupy the fourth first-seed spot following their late win over Austria on Friday, even if they succumb to Germany on Tuesday.

For his part, Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo is certainly wary of a potential match-up with the 1998 World Cup winners - a tie which is possible given the seeding scenario.

"Hopefully, we'll now get a bit of luck and not get a complicated team," he said after the 1-1 draw with Israel on Friday. "The only team I wouldn't like to face is France."

Wary of the plight his team potentially face, French Football Federation president Noel Le Graet has raised the possibility of complaining to Fifa about the seeding system, which he feels is unfair as they were drawn into a five-team, rather than a six-team group.

Other sides who are in contention for a play-off spot include Armenia, Denmark, Bulgaria, Turkey and Ukraine, while England and Bosnia-Herzegovina (both ranked above France) could slip into second in their respective groups if results go against them on Tuesday.

The draw for the playoff round for European qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup takes place on October 21.