PARIS, June 7: Defending champions Germany will have the psychological advantage of going to the Russian World Cup finals sitting atop the FIFA rankings.
The Germans are in good shape heading to Russia after their talismanic goalkeeper Manuel Neuer, a key player in their 2014 victory, returned to action after a long absence through injury.
Neymar’s on-form five-time World Cup winners Brazil are second, multi-talented Belgium are third, Cristiano Ronaldo’s European champions Portugal fourth and Lionel Messi’s Argentina are fifth.
British bookmakers would agree with the top two as they make Germany and Brazil joint World Cup favourites at odds of five to one followed by Spain, France and Argentina.
World Cup host nation Russia meanwhile slide to 70th position after a seven-game winless streak. They kick off the tournament against Saudi Arabia on June 14. IANS