ZURICH: Belgium are the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking’s Team of the Year for the second successive time after a record-breaking year for the global ladder.
The Red Devils have held on to top spot in a December table barely impacted by just 19 friendlies towards the end of a year in which 1,082 international “A” matches have been played – an all-time high since the ranking’s 1993 inception.
World champions France remain in second place ahead of Brazil in third, the positions they held in December 2018, but the make-up of the year-end top five has changed, with England climbing one place in 2019 to end the year in fourth and Uruguay moving up to fifth on the back of a two-spot rise. Argentina (9th) and Colombia (10th) are also in the top ten at the expense of Switzerland (12th) and Denmark (16th), who have slipped four and six places respectively over the course of the year.
The ranking’s Mover of the Year, meanwhile, are Qatar. The FIFA World Cup 2022™ hosts gained an impressive 138 points over the course of a year in which they won the AFC Asian Cup and made a strong start to the Asian Zone World Cup qualifiers. Besides accumulating the biggest points haul, Qatar have also jumped a year-high 38 places, followed closely by fellow climbers Algeria (up 32 ranks) and Japan (up 22 ranks).
Given the teams who have made the most progress in 2019, it is no surprise to find that the regional composition of the top 50 has changed over the year, with Europe’s dominance diminished. UEFA has lost three places in the top 50 compared to the end of 2018, and now has 28 teams, whereas Concacaf (4), the AFC (4) and CAF (4) have all gained one spot apiece.
But despite all the changes witnessed over 2019, the year has ended on a quiet note, with only the most modest of movements due to the scarcity of fixtures since the ranking’s November edition. Nonetheless, eight teams – Bahrain (99th), Bolivia (75th), Korea Republic (40th), Lesotho (139th), the Solomon Islands (141st), South Africa (71st), St Kitts and Nevis (139th) and Suriname (141st) – have all edged a single rung up the ladder, and will hope to continue that progress in 2020.
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The next FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking will be published on 20 February 2020.
Annual awards, FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking 2019
Team of the Year 2019: Belgium
The Team of the Year award goes to the team 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 in both 2015 and 2018.
In 2019, Belgium won all ten of their international “A” matches and in the process qualified for UEFA EURO 2020, a competition in which they will surely be one of the major contenders.
Mover of the Year 2019: Qatar
Qatar are the Mover of the Year for 2019, having gained 138 points over the course of their 25 matches since the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking of December 2018. The Qataris won 16, drew two and lost seven of those 25 matches. Their biggest success came in early 2019 when they became Asian champions by defeating Japan 3-1 in the final of the AFC Asian Cup. What is more, no team improved its ranking position more than Qatar in 2019 (up 38 ranks).
As the following table shows, the top ten movers of 2019 came from four confederations, namely the AFC (Qatar, Japan, Iraq), CAF (Algeria, Nigeria, Madagascar), Concacaf (Mexico, Haiti), and UEFA (Italy, Kosovo).
|Rank 2018-2019||World ranking||Team||Points end of 2018||Points end of 2019||Points won|
Note: the Mover of the Year is determined on the basis of the improvement in total points since the end of the previous year, i.e.: Improvement = PEnd of current year – PEnd of previous year