ST PETERSBURG. — England and Wales will take their place among the top nine European seeds for today’s World Cup qualifying draw in Saint Petersburg.

The top seeds are based on the FIFA world rankings from June meaning previous World Cup winners Italy and France are only second seeds.

World champions Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Romania, Portugal, Spain and Croatia are the other top seeds.

Along with hosts Russia, 13 other European nations will qualify for the World Cup with the nine group winners from today’s draw being joined by the winners of four playoffs between the eight best second-placed teams.

Scotland and Northern Ireland will be in the third of the six pots, whilst the Republic of Ireland are in pot four.

The qualifying groups will take place between September 2016 and October 2017 with the playoffs in November 2017.

Seedings in full

Pot 1: Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, England, Wales, Spain, Croatia

Pot 2: Italy, Slovakia, Austria, Switzerland, Czech Republic, France, Iceland, Denmark, Bosnia-Herzegovina

Pot three: Poland, Ukraine, Scotland, Hungary, Sweden, Albania, Northern Ireland, Serbia, Greece

Pot four: Turkey, Slovenia, Israel, Republic of Ireland, Norway, Bulgaria, Faroe Islands, Montenegro, Estonia

Pot five: Cyprus, Latvia, Armenia, Finland, Belarus, Macedonia, Azerbaijan, Lithuania, Moldova

Pot six: Luxembourg, Kazakhstan, Liechtenstein, Georgia, Malta, San Marino, Andorra. — AFP.

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