彩神app2官网Nigeria remains 47th in FIFA rankings ahead of World Cup

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By Olatunji Saliu

ABUJA, May 17 (Xinhua) -- Nigeria remained 47th in the FIFA's global rankings in May, less than one month to the start of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

The west African country also retained its sixth position in Africa.

FIFA's latest ranking released on Thursday showed that Nigeria still has 635 points, exactly the same points it had last month.

The country was on the 47th spot and sixth position respectively in the FIFA rankings for global and continental football in April.

Nigeria, standing behind Tunisia, Senegal, DR Congo, Morocco and Egypt in the latest FIFA rankings, is one of the five African countries qualifying for the World Cup in Russia. The others are Egypt, Morocco, Senegal, and Tunisia.

In 1994, Nigeria ranked fifth just a month ahead of the World Cup in the United States. The fifth spot has been the highest so far reached by any African country.

The Super Eagles also put up an inspiring performance at the tournament, which has been rated by local fans and the media as the best World Cup outing by Nigeria.

Many soccer pundits expect Nigeria's present spot in the FIFA rankings not to affect its performance in Russia.

Kunle Agbeyangi, a local sports analyst, told Xinhua that Nigeria might pull a surprise on the global stage.

"The Super Eagles have a good chance at the forthcoming World Cup. Most of its players have featured well in notable club matches across the world. There's nothing to fear about," Agbeyangi said.

Nigeria, in Group D with Argentina, Iceland, and Croatia in the forthcoming World Cup in Russia, released a 200-man provisional list for the tournament on Monday, naming China-based duo of Mikel Obi and striker Odion Ighalo in its squad.

Head coach Gernot Rohr also named the local league top scorers Junior Lokosa and Simeon Nwankwo as the new faces in the list.

It is the first national call-up for Kano Pillars forward Lokosa, so is Italian Serie A side Crotone's striker Nwankwo.

A quintuple of Leon Balogun, Wilfred Ndidi, Etebo Oghenekaro, Joel Obi and Tyrone Ebuehi who are recuperating from injury also made the lists.

The team is scheduled to warm up against DR Congo on May 28, before moving out to England to take on Three Lions in Wembley Stadium on June 2 and the Czech Republic on June 6.

The next FIFA world rankings will be released on June 7, seven days to the World Cup.