U.S. rises in FIFA rankings despite failing to qualify for the World Cup

U.S. rises in FIFA rankings despite failing to qualify for the World Cup
Michael Bradley and his U.S. teammates will watch the 2018 World Cup as spectators instead of participants. (Robert Taylor / Associated Press)

Nine teams that didn’t qualify for the 32-team field for next summer’s World Cup will have to be content with spots in the top 32 in the latest FIFA world rankings, which were announced Thursday.

The U.S., which failed to make the cut in soccer's quadrennial championship for the first time since 1986 on the final day of qualifying, is one of those countries. The Americans are listed 24th in the monthly FIFA rankings, up three spots from October.


The rankings are determined by a points system in which teams are rewarded based on the results of FIFA-recognized international matches over the last four years. More recent results and more significant matches are more heavily weighted to help reflect the current competitive state of a team.

The top five teams in the poll remained unchanged with defending World Cup champion Germany leading Brazil, Portugal, Argentina and Belgium.

Chile, the two-time reigning South American champion, is ranked 10th despite also failing to qualify for next summer's tournament in Russia. Other teams that made the top 32 of the FIFA rankings but not the World Cup include Italy, Wales, Northern Ireland, Slovakia, Austria, Paraguay and Ireland.

Mexico is the top CONCACAF team at No. 16 while Costa Rica and Panama, which finished ahead of the U.S. in qualifying, finished behind the Americans in the FIFA poll. Costa Rica is ranked 26th and Panama 56th.

Trinidad and Tobago, which beat the Americans 2-1 last month to eliminate them from the World Cup, is ranked 89th globally.

The top 30 (change in position from October)

1. Germany (0)

2. Brazil (0)

3. Portugal (0)

4. Argentina (0)

5. Belgium (0)

6. Spain (+2)

7. Poland (-1)

8. Switzerland (+3)


9. France (-2)

10. Chile (-1)

11. Peru (-1)

12. Denmark (+7)

13. Colombia (0)

14. Italy (+1)

15. England (-3)

16. Mexico (0)

17. Croatia (+1)

18. Sweden (+7)

19. Wales (-5)

20. Netherlands (0)

21. Uruguay (-4)

22. Iceland (-1)

23. Senegal (+9)

24 (t). U.S (+3)

24 (t). Northern Ireland (-1)

26. Costa Rica (-4)

27. Tunisia (+1)

28. Slovakia (-4)

29. Austria (+10)

30. Paraguay (+6)

Follow Kevin Baxter on Twitter @kbaxter11