ZURICH: Just 352 international matches took place in 2020. Not since 1987 (323 matches), have so few fixtures taken place in a calendar year with Belgium claim the title of FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking Team of the Year for the third consecutive time.
Winners of six of their eight matches in 2020, the Red Devils are not the only ones to see their position unchanged. Their three immediate pursuers – France (2nd), Brazil (3rd) and England (4th) – retain their respective rankings. The only change in the TOP 5 compared to 2019 is the appearance of Portugal in 5th place.
Next in the standings are Spain (6th) and Argentina (7th), both of which have improved two places compared to last year. Uruguay (8th) have regressed but remain in the Top 10, while Mexico and Italy again occupy 9th and 10th place.
The team with the most progress in 2020 were Hungary (40th), after a gain of 44 points and 12 places allowed them to end the year in the Top 50. In eight matches played in 2020, the Magyars lost just once (to Russia), a sequence of results that enabled them to secure a berth at UEFA EURO 2020.
Other notable climbers this year were Ecuador (56th, +41 points compared to December 2019), Malta (176th, +32 points), Brazil (3rd, +31 points), and Equatorial Guinea (134th, +31 points). For its part, Burundi (138th) picked up 29 points and made the most significant move in terms of places, ascending 13 positions.
Just like most of 2020, December saw a low number of games. Consequently, there is little movement to report other than a one-place rise for Qatar (58th, +1), host of the next FIFA World Cup™, following their defeat of Bangladesh (186th, -2) in a delayed AFC qualifying fixture for Qatar 2022. Ethiopia (146th, +1), Djibouti (184, +1) and Dominica (184th, +1) all advanced one place and will be hoping to build on that progress in 2021.
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The next FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking will be published on 18 February 2021.
Leader Belgium (unchanged)
Moves into top 10 none
Moves out of top 10 none
Matches played in total 2
Most matches played Bangladesh, Qatar, Switzerland, Ukraine (1 match each)
Biggest move by points Switzerland (plus 7 points)
Biggest move by ranks Djibouti, Dominica, Ethiopia, Qatar (plus 1 rank each)
Biggest drop by points Ukraine (minus 7 points)
Biggest drop by ranks Bangladesh (minus 2 ranks)
Newly ranked teams none
Teams that are no longer ranked none
Inactive teams, not ranked Cook Islands