ZURICH: Belgium will begin 2019 at the top of the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking, having preserved their single-point lead over France at the table’s summit and emerged as the ranking’s Team of the Year.
Les Bleus’ stellar 2018 has not gone unrecognised though, with the world champions established as the Mover of the Year, having gained more points (165) since December 2017 than any other nation. The French lead that particular table ahead of Uruguay (7th, unchanged) and Kosovo (131st, unchanged), who have registered net gains of 151 and 133 points respectively.
The Kosovans, meanwhile, are the biggest climbers in terms of ranks, having moved up 46 places since this time last year, comfortably ahead of the respective 31- and 30-place rises registered by Kuwait (158th, unchanged) and El Salvador (70th, unchanged).
It has been a good year in general for Europe, which now accounts for 31 of the top 50 teams – two more than in December 2017. Asia has also boosted its top-50 numbers from two to three, with that rise coming at the expense of Africa, which has seen its representation drop from eight to five.
The ranking’s latest edition shows precious few changes, however, having been impacted by just eight “A” matches in a quiet month for international football. The top 100, in fact, is almost entirely unaltered bar a single-place swapping of positions between Oman (82nd, up 1) and Zambia (83rd, down 1).
The month’s biggest movers are Guyana (177th, up 3), whose Concacaf Nations League qualifier draw against Barbados (162nd, down 3) in September was recently reclassified as a forfeit win due to the Barbadians fielding two ineligible players. There are also modest rises for the likes of Zimbabwe (114th, up 1), Sierra Leone (115th, up 1), Kazakhstan (119th, up 1), Guinea-Bissau (120th, up 1), Indonesia (159th, up 1), Belize (160th, up 1) and Nepal (161st, up 1).
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The next FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking will be published on 7 February 2019.
Annual awards, FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking 2018
Team of the Year 2018: Belgium
The Team of the Year award goes to the side that finishes top of the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking in a given year. This year’s award goes to Belgium, who also won this award back in 2015.
In 2018, Belgium competed in 17 international “A” matches, winning 13, drawing two and losing two. They lost their FIFA World Cup™ semi-final against France but then won the match for third place against England. Their only other defeat of the year came in a UEFA Nations League game
Mover of the Year 2018: France
Even though France finished the year “only” in second place in the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking, they have still won the Mover of the Year award, which goes to the team that gained the most points over the course of the year. In 2018, France played 18 matches and won 12 of them – most importantly the FIFA World Cup™ final against Croatia. Four matches ended in a draw and only two were lost (against Colombia and the Netherlands).
Six of the ten biggest movers of the year are European teams, with the remaining four teams coming from South America (Uruguay, Venezuela), Asia (Kyrgyz Republic) and North, Central America and the Caribbean (El Salvador).