Belgium have had one of the most promising squads in world football for a number of years, and at one point topped the FIFA World Ranking. They have already qualified for next year’s finals, and now will look to secure a place among the seeds.
Russia will be seeded as hosts, and joined by the top seven qualifiers based upon the October FIFA World Ranking, which is published after the next round of qualifiers.
So how can Belgium be one of the eight top-seeded nations in the Dec. 1 group-stage draw?
Win both remaining group qualifiers
Belgium can only guarantee they will be seeded by winning both their remaining qualifiers in Group H away to Bosnia and Herzegovina and at home to Cyprus. That will give them 1,333 ranking points, and it will mean they can be no lower than fifth in the October ranking
Is there any other way Belgium can be seeded?
If Belgium draw with Bosnia in their first qualifier (and beat Cyprus), that will leave them on 1,242 ranking points. That would not completely rule them out of the running to be seeded in the World Cup draw, but they would need several other results to go their way as they would be guaranteed to be no higher than 11th in the October ranking.
Dale Johnson has been an editor and journalist at ESPN for 18 years. You can follow him on Twitter @dalejohnsonESPN.