The latest FIFA rankings were released after the 2022 World Cup and there are some big changes as teams move up and down the list.
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World Cup winners Argentina are not yet at the top of the FIFA rankings but have leapt to second place with only South American rivals Brazil ahead of them as they hang on to first place despite a disappointing World Cup.
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Having the World Cup winning team unranked as the No. 1 team on the planet in the latest FIFA rankings will have people everywhere scratching their heads.
And that’s fair enough.
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Why is Argentina not in the lead?
Given the way FIFA calculates its rankings, Lionel Messi and Argentina have been awarded points based on the strength of their recent opponents.
Brazil has a total score of 1840.77, just over two points higher than Argentina’s 1838.38. This means that Argentina will overtake Brazil after their next game if they win and Brazil don’t win.
FIFA changed their method of calculating these rankings in 2018 and here are all the details on how it was done. Basically, if you face stronger opponents, you earn more points. And there is no longer a time period attached to these rankings. If you’re bad, you fall faster, and if you’re good, you get back up faster.
Who are the great climbers?
Morocco is the big winner as the Atlas Lions moved up 11 places to 11th in the world. The work done by Walid Regragui was sensational and they were the darlings of the 2022 World Cup.
Japan also moved up four places to 20th, while the United States and Switzerland moved up three places each with the Americans ranked 13th in the world and Switzerland 12th.
Australia moved up 11 places to 27th when the Socceroos shocked us by reaching the round of 16 at the World Cup, where they gave eventual champions Argentina a really tough game. Cameroon moved up 10 places to 33rd, largely thanks to their famous group stage win against Brazil.
Who slipped in the standings?
Belgium have dropped from second to fourth and are likely to fall further after their shock group stage exit at the World Cup. The golden generation is over.
Spain, Germany, Mexico and Uruguay also fell, while reigning European champions Italy (remember them!?) dropped two places, which was inevitable after Roberto Mancini’s team failed to reach the World Cup.
Denmark who have dropped eight places to 18th reflect their dreadful World Cup, while Iran have dropped four places, Wales have slipped nine places, Serbia have dropped eight places to 30th, Canada it dropped 12 places to 53rd and Qatar dropped 10 places to 60th. John Herdman’s Canada saw the biggest drop of any World Cup team.
What to do with the US ranking?
The ranking of 13th is the USMNT’s second-highest finish since Gregg Berhalter took office as they ranked 10th in 2021. The USMNT has dropped all the way to 36th in these rankings, but by large part of the last 12 months have been ranked within the top 20.
With a Gold Cup coming up in 2023 and then the potential to play in the Copa America in 2024 (according to reports), the USA could climb into the top 10 as they have two huge international tournaments to play in and earn more points for wins in major tournaments compared to friendly matches.
Below is the FIFA rankings for the top 20, showing the movement up and down the teams, as well as a graph showing where each team finished at the 2022 World Cup.
FIFA Rankings, Top 20 as of 22 December 2022
1. Brazil – Even
2. Argentina – Out of 1
3. France – Out of 1
4. Belgium – Under 2
5. England – Even
6. Netherlands – Out of 2
7. Croatia – Up 1
8. Italy – Down by 2
9. Portugal – Even
10. Spain – Under 3
11. Morocco – Out of 11
12. Switzerland – Out of 3
13. USA – Out of 3
14. Germany – Under 3
15. Mexico – Down 2
16. Uruguay – Under 2
17. Colombia – Even
18. Denmark – Under 8
19. Senegal – Under 1
20. Japan – Out of 4
The new FIFA rankings released after the 2022 World Cup originally appeared on NBCSports.com