The United States remained at No. 22 in the final FIFA World Ranking of the year, it was announced Thursday.
Belgium was named the ranking’s team of the year for the second successive time. The Red Devils have held on to top spot in a December table barely impacted by only 19 friendlies towards the end of a year in which 1,082 international “A” matches have been played – an all-time high since the ranking’s 1993 inception.
World champion France remained in second place ahead of Brazil in third, the positions they held in December 2018. The make-up of the year-end top five has changed, with England climbing one place o end the year in fourth and Uruguay moving up to fifth on the back of a two-spot rise. Argentina (9th) and Colombia (10th) are also in the top 10 at the expense of Switzerland (12th) and Denmark (16th), who slipped four and six places, respectively, over the course of the year.
The ranking’s mover of the year was Qatar. The 2022 World Cup hosts gained 138 points over the course of a year in which it won the AFC Asian Cup and made a strong start to the Asian Zone World Cup qualifiers. Besides accumulating the biggest points haul, Qatar also jumped a year-high 38 places, followed closely by Algeria (up 32 ranks) and Japan (up 22 ranks).
Given the teams who made the most progress in 2019, it was no surprise to find that the regional composition of the top 50 has changed, with Europe’s dominance diminished. UEFA has lost three places in the top 50 compared to the end of 2018, and now has 28 teams, whereas Concacaf (4), the AFC (4) and CAF (4) have all gained one spot apiece.
But despite all the changes, the year ended on a quiet note, with only the most modest of movements due to the scarcity of fixtures since the ranking’s November edition. Eight teams – Bahrain (99th), Bolivia (75th), Korea Republic (40th), Lesotho (139th), the Solomon Islands (141st), South Africa (71st), St Kitts and Nevis (139th) and Suriname (141st) – moved a single rung up the ladder.
As the following table shows, the top 10 movers of 2019 came from four confederations, namely the AFC (Qatar, Japan, Iraq), CAF (Algeria, Nigeria, Madagascar), Concacaf (Mexico, Haiti), and UEFA (Italy, Kosovo).
The next rankings will be published on Feb. 20.
Click here to view the entire ranking.
|Rank 2018-2019||World ranking||Team||Points end of 2018||Points end of 2019||Points won|
Note: the Mover of the Year is determined on the basis of the improvement in total points since the end of the previous year, i.e.: Improvement = PEnd of current year – PEnd of previous year