Canada had plenty of reasons to celebrate for a memorable 2021. (Courtesy of Canada Soccer)

Canada finished 40th, but was the most improved side in the last FIFA rankings of men’s national teams, which were released on Thursday.

The United States finished the year in 11th place.

The Maple Leafs, who host the U.S. in a World Cup qualifier in Hamilton, Canada on Jan. 30, picked up 130.32 points over the last 12 months. Their journey to the Concacaf Gold Cup semifinals as well as impressive results and taking the Octagonal lead (4-0-4, 16 points) in 2020 World Cup qualifying were major factors in their rise.

Belgium finished atop the rankings for the fourth consecutive year, finishing just ahead of Brazil while France was third.

Fifth-place Argentina, the 2021 Copa America titlists, and sixth-place Italy, the UEFA EURO 2020 champions, also saw their numbers improved. Argentina increased by 108.51 points, the Italians by 115.77.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, only 352 full internationals were played in 2020. Not since 1987 (323 matches) had so few games been played in a year. By contrast, the lost time was made up in 2021 with a record-breaking 1,116 matches.

Click HERE to view the complete ranking.

The next ranking will be announced on Feb. 10.