FIFA rankings to reveal World Cup top seeds

GRAHAM DUNBAR (AP Sports Writer)
The Associated PressOctober 16, 2013
FIFA rankings to reveal World Cup top seeds
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Brazil's Neymar, center tries to get the ball past Zambia's Chamba Bronson (6), Himonde Hichani (5) and Katongo Christopher (11) during a friendly match held at the Bird's Nest national stadium in Beijing, China, Tuesday, Oct. 15, 2013. Brazil won 2-0. (AP Photo/Ng Han Guan)

GENEVA (AP) -- Brazil vs. Italy. Twice a World Cup final, it could be the opening match of the World Cup.

And the second match the next day could be a 2010 final repeat: Spain vs. the Netherlands.

The tournament's top eight teams will be separated so they can't meet until the knockout stage of the soccer tournament. Those teams will be chosen based on the FIFA rankings that come out on Thursday.

Host Brazil will be the seed in Group A, and the next seven will be taken from the top of the rankings. That means less prestigious teams such as Switzerland, Belgium and Colombia are likely to be considered the ''top'' teams in their groups, while 2006 champion Italy and 2010 runner-up the Netherlands will not.

Other likely seeds include Spain, Germany, and Argentina, plus Uruguay if the 2010 semifinalists can qualify by beating Jordan in a playoff.