Not surprisingly, World Cup champions France have jumped to the No. 1 spot in the new and much-changed FIFA rankings, the first of which that were released Thursday since the end of Russia 2018.
The French took over the top spot for the first time in more than 16 years as the last time they were No. 1 was May 2002.
The United States, climbed three spots to 22nd. The Americans host third-ranked Brazil at MetLife Stadium Sept. 7 and No. 16 Mexico in Nashville Sept. 11.
The formula, which was approved by the FIFA Council in June after a lengthy period of testing, relies on adding/subtracting points won or lost for a game to/from the previous points total rather than averaging game points over a given time period as in the previous version of the ranking.
The changes allow inactive teams to preserve their points totals, with no devaluation of older games. Points are dropped, however, from losing or drawing against weaker opposition, with the only exception to this rule being matches in knockout rounds of major competitions such as the World Cup.
More details about the formula used in the algorithm, weightings of matches and other characteristics can be found HERE.
The most important thing about the new method is, of course, the table it yields, and in that respect August’s ranking makes for spectacular reading. France (1st, up 6) provide the headline news, as they have reclaimed pole position for the first time in over 16 years, returning to a spot they last held in May 2002.
Three points behind Les Bleus were World Cup semifinalists Belgium (second, up one), while runners-up Croatia (fourth, up 16) have equalled its record ranking position, last reached in June 2013. Other big movers included Uruguay (5th, up nine), England (sixth, up six), Sweden (13th, up 11) and World Cup hosts Russia (49th, up 21).
There are losses as well as gains, with the previous leaders Germany (15th, down 14) among several sides to suffer due to group-stage elimination in Russia. Poland (18th, down 10), Peru (20th, down nine) and Costa Rica and Iceland (joint 32nd, down nine and 10, respectively) have also slipped down the table on the back of disappointing World Cup campaigns.
Click here to view the complete rankings.
The next ranking will be published Sept. 20.