No surprise here.

The United States will end the year as it began it — atop the FIFA women’s world ranking.

Of course, winning the Women’s World Cup had a major role in that. It was the Americans’ fourth world championship and second in a row.

Earlier this week, the USWNT was named Time magazine’s athlete of the year.

After dropping out of the top 10 for the first time in September, Brazil returned at No. 9.

Having been rewarded for recent friendly wins over England (6th, down 1) and Canada (8th, down 1), the Brazilians (9th, up 2) are the only notable climbers in the table’s upper echelons. Korea DPR (11th, down 2), with whom Brazil has swapped places, fell because it not play since the last ranking.

The big moves come further down the ladder, however, with CAF and Concacaf’s Olympic qualifiers producing the most significant recent upsets. In Concacaf, St Kitts and Nevis’s (127th, up 7) stunning away victory over Trinidad and Tobago (72nd, down 11) has provided the biggest points haul. It also took the victors through to the final stage of Concacaf’s Tokyo 2020 preliminaries.

Kenya (133rd, up 10) also sent shock waves recently by beating traditional African powerhouses Ghana (60th, down 10) over two legs. The scale of that surprise is reflected in the change in both teams’ ranking, while Congo DR (108th, up 10), which also enjoyed a double-digit rise, being rewarded for an unlikely home win over Cameroon (49th, down 3).

This latest edition provides cause for celebration, too, for six countries that have improved on their previous positions, with Belgium (17th, up 1), Chile (36th, up 1), Papua New Guinea (46th, up 1), Slovenia (50th, up 3), Panama (53rd, up 3) and Fiji (65th, up 3) reaching new highs.

To view the complete ranking, click


The next ranking will be posted March 27.

Front Row Soccer editor Michael Lewis has covered 13 World Cups (eight men, five women), seven Olympics and 25 MLS Cups. He has written about New York City FC, New York Cosmos, the New York Red Bulls and both U.S. national teams for Newsday and has penned a soccer history column for the Lewis, who has been honored by the Press Club of Long Island and National Soccer Coaches Association of America, is the former editor of He has written seven books about the beautiful game and has published ALIVE AND KICKING The incredible but true story of the Rochester Lancers. It is available at