Platini: Europe deserves 1 extra World Cup place

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MONACO (AP) Europe deserves an extra team at the next World Cup, UEFA President Michel Platini said Thursday.

Platini pledged to ask FIFA for the extra spot because Germany's World Cup victory in Brazil made it three straight titles for Europe. Italy won in 2006 and Spain four years ago.

''European football proved it's the leader in the world,'' Platini said.

UEFA had 13 of 32 teams in Brazil, and Platini wants 14 qualifying places in 2018. Host Russia has an automatic entry.

''I have the intention to ask for one more because we are world champions,'' Platini said. ''Other confederations ask. I do (it) like them.''

FIFA President Sepp Blatter has previously urged other continents to seek more guaranteed places, likely taking from UEFA.

FIFA's executive committee agrees on World Cup continental quotas in the months after each tournament.

Africa currently has five guaranteed places, South America and Asia have four and the CONCACAF region three. Two more places are allocated in playoffs involving teams from South America, Asia, CONCACAF and Oceania.

In Brazil, CONCACAF boosted its claim by getting three of its four teams - Costa Rica, the United States and Mexico - to the knockout round. Asia's four teams all failed to win a match.

Platini pointed out that 15 European teams playing in Russia would only restore UEFA to the entry it had in 1998 in France, when the World Cup expanded to 32 countries.

Earlier Thursday, Platini told leaders of UEFA's 54 member federations that protecting their World Cup entries was a priority.

''They can count on me to be on the frontline in all these battles,'' Platini said.