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Latest FIFA rankings for men’s national teams

Argentina won the 2022 FIFA World Cup, but that wasn’t good enough to become the No. 1 team on the planet based on the latest rankings updated Thursday, December 22.Latest FIFA rankings for men’s national teams

The FIFA rankings represent football’s best attempt to list the teams according to accomplishments throughout the sport’s calendar. While the World Cup holds the most prestige, other competitions also weigh into the list’s construction and algorithm, looking to weigh all results throughout recent years as equally as possible.

FIFA rankings are important, as they are a factor in a number of competitive placements. Most notably, the FIFA rankings determine which pot a team is placed into at every World Cup draw.

The kigalidailynews brings you the latest FIFA rankings published on December 22, four days after the first-ever World Cup final played in December, as the international community shifts gear towards the next four-year cycle.

Latest FIFA rankings December 2022

Rank Nation Confederation Last (Move)
1. Brazil CONMEBOL  —
2. Argentina CONMEBOL 3rd (+1)
3. France UEFA 4th (+1)
4. Belgium UEFA 2nd (-2)
5. England UEFA  —
6. Netherlands UEFA 8th (+2)
7. Croatia UEFA 12th (+5)
8. Italy UEFA 6th (-2)
9. Portugal UEFA  —
10. Spain UEFA 7th (-3)
11. Morocco CAF 22nd (+11)
12. Switzerland UEFA 15th (+3)
13. USA CONCACAF 16th (+3)
14. Germany UEFA 11th (-3)
15. Mexico CONCACAF 13th (-2)
16. Uruguay CONMEBOL 14th (-2)
17. Colombia CONMEBOL  —
18. Denmark UEFA 10th (-8)
19. Senegal CAF 18th (-1)
20. Japan AFC 24th (+4)
  • Biggest climb: Morocco (No. 22 to No. 11, +11), Australia (No. 38 to No. 27, +11)
  • Biggest drop: Canada (No. 41 to No. 53, -12), Qatar (50 to 60, -10)

Despite winning the 2022 World Cup, Argentina did not claim top spot when FIFA rankings were updated on December 22, instead moving up to second, still stuck behind South American rivals Brazil, who fell at the quarterfinal stage on penalties.

European nations then round out the entire rest of the top 10, as World Cup runners-up France moved into third. Previously No. 2-ranked Belgium, which crashed out in the group stage, drops only two spots to fourth, and quarterfinalist England remains at No. 5 to round out the top five.

Croatia are the biggest gainers amongst the elites, finishing in third place at the World Cup to jump five spots to seventh. Meanwhile, Morocco represented the joint-biggest move up the table as they soar from No. 22 to No. 11 after their fourth-place finish in Qatar.

The USA takes over as the highest-ranked North American team, leaping over Mexico into No. 13 after reaching the Round of 16 at the World Cup. Canada, meanwhile, was one of the biggest losers this month, dropping a joint-high 12 places from No. 41 to No. 53 after failing to earn a single point at the World Cup. Japan is the highest-ranked Asian team, moving up four places to No. 20.

European nations make up 11 of the top 20 nations, still dominant on the global scene as a whole. There are four South American nations (Uruguay and Colombia join the big two), the two aforementioned North American representatives, two African nations (Morocco and Senegal), and one Asian country (Japan) to complete the 20 highest-ranked nations.

Why are World Cup champions Argentina not top of the rankings?

Despite winning the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Argentina were not able gain enough ranking points to take over the top spot from South American rivals Brazil.

This is largely due to the fact that penalty shootout victories are not worth nearly as many ranking points as regulation or extra time victories. When Argentina lifted the trophy in Qatar, two of their knockout stage wins came via penalty shootout, beating the Netherlands in the quarterfinals on penalties before topping France in a shootout in the final.

Additionally, Argentina’s loss to Saudi Arabia in the group stage opener also had an adverse effect. Brazil fell to Cameroon in the group stage and tasted defeat in the quarterfinals to Croatia in a penalty shootout.

 

Latest FIFA rankings for men's national teams
Latest FIFA rankings for men’s national teams

When are next FIFA rankings out?

FIFA rankings are updated after each recognised international window. As such, they are generally revised several times a year depending on the FIFA calendar.

The next FIFA international window is March 20-28 so the next FIFA rankings will be released sometime in early April.

These are the international windows on the 2023 FIFA match calendar, along with the specific allowable matches to be played in that window. The windows apply to all confederations unless otherwise specified:

  • March 20-28 (2 matches)
  • June 12-20 (2 matches)
  • June 16-July 16 (AFC only — Asian Cup)
  • June 26-July 16 (CONCACAF only — Gold Cup)
  • September 4-12 (2 matches)
  • October 9-17 (2 matches)
  • November 13-21 (2 matches)

How FIFA rankings are calculated

FIFA rankings have existed since 1992 and use a points-scoring system to work out standings. The method for calculating FIFA rankings was officially changed in August 2018.

This new system works by adding or subtracting points from a team’s previous total based on results.

A country’s points total is influenced by the calibre of opponent a team faces. For example, beating a team ranked inside the top 10 will result in more points being gained than defeating a side ranked outside the top 20. The expected result of the game will also impact the number of points gained.

Specific games are given more weight, too. So winning a World Cup match will result in more points than claiming victory in an international friendly.

Matches decided by penalty shootouts are not a straight win or loss for either team. Losing teams are given the same points as for a draw, while winners only get points equivalent to half a win. Losing knockout round matches of final competitions also doesn’t result in teams losing any points.

Here’s a calculation example provided by FIFA:

  • Team A has 1300 points before the match and wins a continental qualifier against team B that has 1500 points
  • For team A the formula is: P=1300+25*(1–(1/(10 exp (-(1300–1500)/600) +1)))
  • For team B the formula is: P = 1500+25*(0- (1 / (10 exp (-(1500-1300)/600) + 1)))
  • Thus, team A wins 17 points and has P = 1317 points after the match
  • Team B loses the same amount of points and thus ends up with 1483 points after the match

FIFA rankings points system

If the above example has you scratching your head, you’re not alone. But understanding the points system a bit better should help with that.

The ‘importance co-efficient’ plays a big part in determining just how many ranking points a team can earn from each fixture and is as follows:

  • 5 – friendlies played outside the International Match Calendar windows
  • 10 – friendlies played within the International Match Calendar windows
  • 15 – UEFA Nations League matches (group stage)
  • 25 – UEFA Nations League matches (playoffs and finals), Confederations’ final competitions qualifiers, FIFA World Cup qualifiers
  • 35 – Confederations’ final competitions matches (before quarter-finals)
  • 40 – Confederations’ final competitions matches (quarter-finals and later)
  • 50 – FIFA World Cup matches (before quarter-finals)
  • 60 – FIFA World Cup matches (quarter-finals, semi-finals, third place play-off and final)

The result of said match then combines with the expected result to determine what percentage of the above points are awarded.

Latest FIFA rankings for men's national teams
Latest FIFA rankings for men’s national teams

Why are FIFA rankings important?

The FIFA rankings are “meant to create a reliable measure for comparing national A-teams”, according to a FIFA statement.

They are mainly used to “find out where their respective teams stand in world football’s pecking order and how they are progressing,” FIFA says.

Yet they are also used for some tangible purposes other than just for show. Most notably, FIFA has used its ranking system to deviate teams into pots for the World Cup draw.

For the 2022 World Cup and a number of tournaments previously, FIFA has divided the 32 teams into four pots and drawn one team from each pot. The FIFA rankings were used to set up each pot, with a few minor exceptions. With the World Cup format changing in 2026 to expand the pool of teams to 48, it’s unclear exactly how that process will take place moving forward.

The rankings are sometimes used in other competitions in other ways. For example, FIFA rankings have been used as a tiebreaker when needed, or to seed teams in various competitions, such as when UEFA used them for seeding the draw for their World Cup playoff brackets.

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