ZURICH: Belgium, for the fourth year in a row, end the calendar year in pole position in tge FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking – albeit only just ahead of Brazil by 2.1 points. France complete the podium for 2021.
For their part, Canada (40th) are the year’s ‘Most Improved Side’ having picked up no fewer than 130.32 points over the last 12 months. Their journey to the semi-finals of the 2021 Gold Cup as well as impressive results in FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ qualifying have been major factors in their rise.
Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, only 352 full internationals were played in 2020. Not since 1987 (323 matches) had so few games been played in a calendar year. By contrast, planet football made up for lost time in 2021 with a record breaking 1116 matches played.
Winners of UEFA EURO 2020 and the Copa America 2021 respectively, Italy (6th + 115.77 points compared to December 2020) and Argentina (5th +108.51 points compared to December 2020), have also seen their points tally increase dramatically this year.
The same goes for the USA (11th + 103.51 points compared to December 2020) and England (4th + 85.52 points compared to December 2020). Equatorial Guinea (114th + 59.78 points compared to December 2020) made the most impressive progress among African teams, while Saudi Arabia (51st + 81.71 points compared to December 2020) did the same in Asia.
However, just in terms of last month, the most improved Asian team are Indonesia (164th + 11.13 points). Winners of the FIFA Arab Cup 2021™, Algeria (29th +3) jointly made the best progress in terms of places, along with Qatar (48th + 3), who finished third at the tournament, and Thailand (115th +3).
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The next FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking will be published on 10 February 2022.
Leader Belgium (unchanged)
Countries entering the Top 10 None
Countries exiting the Top 10 None
Total matches played 58
Most matches played Algeria, Egypt, Qatar, Tunisia (6 matches)
Biggest increase in points Indonesia (up 11.13 points)
Biggest increase in places Algeria, Qatar, Thailand (plus 3 places)
Biggest drop in points Myanmar (minus 8.01 points)
Biggest drop in places Myanmar (minus 4 places)
Countries joining the Ranking None
Countries leaving the Ranking None
Unranked inactive teams Cook Islands