11 June, 2018
Russia is making final preparations for the 2018 World Cup.
The championship of international football opens this Thursday, and will continue until July 15. Football, or European football, is known as soccer in the United States.
At the start of World Cup action, Russia's national football team has the lowest rating of the 32 teams in the competition.
FIFA, international football's governing body, released its monthly rankings of national teams last week. The Russians dropped to 70th place on FIFA's list, with Saudi Arabia in 67th place.
Russia and Saudi Arabia are to play Thursday in Moscow. They are the two lowest-ranked teams at this year's World Cup.
Defending World Cup champion Germany is the top rated team. Germany won the 2014 World Cup by defeating Brazil, which has won the event five times. Brazil, Belgium, Portugal and Argentina fill out the top five teams in the latest world rankings.
Chile is the highest ranked team not playing in the World Cup. It is number 9 on FIFA's list. The Netherlands, Wales and Italy are three other teams among the top 20 that failed to win an invitation to Russia for the games.
At number 15, Mexico is the top team from North America, Central America and the Caribbean. Tunisia is considered Africa's best. It is in 21st place in the world ratings. The best Asian confederation team is Australia, which is in 32nd place.
There are a total of 64 football matches at the 2018 World Cup. The final match is set for Sunday, July 15 at Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium.
I'm Jonathan Evans.
Jonathan Evans adapted this story from an AP News report. George Grow was the editor.
Words in this Story
ranking – n. a relative standing or position
confederation – n. a group of people, countries, organizations, etc. that are joined together in some activity or effort