ZURICH: Germany are the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking’s latest Team of the Year, having ended 2017 atop the global ladder.
The world champions, who qualified to defend their crown in Russia by winning all ten of their qualifiers and were unbeaten in 15 matches in 2017, succeed Argentina and Belgium, who were the Team of the Year in 2016 and 2015 respectively.
Germany have held on to top spot in a largely unchanged ranking that reflects the fact that just 41 “A” internationals have been played since the previous edition, few of which involved teams at the top end of the table.
The result is a top 50 that shows only five changes, all minor and all outside the top 30, with Serbia (36th, up 1), Bosnia and Herzegovina (37th, up 1), Australia (38th, up 1) and Ghana (50th, up 1) all making identically narrow gains and Congo DR (39th, down 3) slipping slightly.
There is, however, some notable movement further down the order, with Vanuatu (157th, up 28), Vietnam (112th, up 13), Mongolia (187th, up 12), Myanmar (140th, up 10), and Fiji (168th, up 10) all registering double-digit climbs. Palestine (80th, up 2) and Luxembourg (83rd, up 1) also have reason to celebrate, having risen to their highest positions since the ranking’s inception.
And while Denmark (12th, unchanged) have not advanced in this latest table, they have the distinction of ending 2017 as the Mover of the Year – having made a bigger points improvement on last year than any other team. Age Hareide’s side, who registered 456 ranking points during the year, are unbeaten in 14 months, a run that culminated in their biggest win of 2017: a 5-1 play-off second-leg win away to the Republic of Ireland that secured their place at the 2018 FIFA World Cup™.
The best movers in other confederations over the year are Bolivia (49th, unchanged), Jamaica (54th, unchanged), Lebanon (85th, up 2), Cameroon (45th, unchanged) and the Solomon Islands (151st, down 3). Lebanon, in fact, have risen 62 places over the course of 2017 – the third-biggest overall gain in 2017 behind FYR Macedonia (76th, up 86) and Andorra (138th, up 65).
It is interesting to note, too, that UEFA (29, up 1) and CAF (8, up 1) have ended the year with more top-50 teams than when they began – rises that have come at the expense of the AFC (2, down 2). The number of representatives from other confederations remains unchanged (CONMEBOL 8, CONCACAF 3, OFC 0).
The next FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking will be published on 18 January 2018.
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Leader Germany (unchanged)