Among the many international sports that are popular in the United States, soccer is by far the most popular. FIFA’s official rankings, which are published every month, provide a snapshot of the performance of national teams around the world. The rankings are based on a points system that awards points to teams based on the results of full international matches.
The USA is ranked 13th in the latest rankings, up one place from last month’s list. The team remains a top contender in the Concacaf (North, Central American and Caribbean) nations section of qualifying for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar.
It’s been a good summer for the U.S., winning both the CONCACAF Nations League and Gold Cup. However, the results haven’t translated into much improvement in the rankings.
FIFA’s updated ranking lists the world’s best teams, with Argentina and France up one place to second and third respectively. Brazil, the 2022 World Cup winners, are still ranked number one.
But that’s not to say that the rest of the world isn’t making progress. Morocco jumped to 11th, after reaching the semifinals of the World Cup, and Croatia are up five places after winning the tournament.
Another big movers were Italy and Portugal, who both dropped two places to ninth and 10th, respectively. In contrast, Croatia climbed five places and surprise fourth-placer Morocco leapt up eleven places to reach the top of the African rankings for the first time since 1999.
While Brazil is ranked number one in the rankings, they aren’t actually the most dominant team in South America anymore. The 2022 World Cup final was a penalty shootout, which makes a huge difference in how the ranking system is calculated.
Similarly, Brazil’s Copa America win wasn’t enough to move them to top spot. Belgium, who were also eliminated from the World Cup in the group stage, slid down to fourth.
The USMNT are also ranked well, with Gregg Berhalter’s side climbing up to the top ten of FIFA’s ratings for the first time in his tenure. They haven’t been ranked in the top ten since 2014, so this is a major milestone for the young Americans.
In fact, they’re only one place below England in the latest rankings. That’s a remarkable achievement, given how their qualifying campaign in 2018 ended with four losses in the fifth round and a draw against Trinidad & Tobago.
With the next friendly matches coming up in January, it will be interesting to see how the U.S. performs against Serbia and Colombia.
There are also plenty of younger players to watch out for in the rankings this year, including Rokas Pukstas, who is playing a crucial role for Hadjuk Split. He’s currently a part of the U-20 team and is building his case for a spot in the main squad.
While there aren’t too many surprises in the top ten, it’s worth checking out the other rankings to see who’s making the most progress. The USMNT are a top contender in the Concacaf nations section, while Brazil and Argentina are both strong contenders for the title of world champions in the next tournament in Qatar.