Belgium will end the year top of the global football rankings issued on Thursday by the sport’s ruling body FIFA, maintaining the narrowest of leads over World Cup winners France.
The Red Devils lead the standings on 1,727 points, just one point better than the French who edged them in the 2018 World Cup semi-final in Russia.
Brazil remain third with 1,676 points in an unchanged top 10, ahead of World Cup finalists Croatia, England, Portugal, Uruguay, Switzerland, Spain and Denmark.
Iran, ranked 29th, are the highest side competing in the Asian Cup which begins on Jan. 5, with the hosting United Arab Emirates (UAE) 79th.
Mexico (17th) are the best from the North and Central American CONCACAF region, while Senegal (23rd) top Africa and New Zealand (122nd) are the strongest in Oceania.
The first rankings of 2019 are to be issued on Feb. 7.(dpa/NAN)