U.S. falls behind Costa Rica, Mexico in soccer world rankings

U.S. falls behind Costa Rica, Mexico in soccer world rankings
U.S. soccer fans at Redondo Beach Pier react while watching their team in a losing effort against Belgium in the World Cup last month. (Jabin Botsford / Los Angeles Times)

In case there was any doubt, FIFA made it official Thursday: The U.S. is no longer the top soccer country in North and Central America.

In fact, it's not even No. 2.


In the latest world rankings released Thursday, soccer's global governing body ranks the U.S. 18th behind Costa Rica (15) and Mexico (17), making it third among teams from Central America, North America and the Caribbean.

In the July rankings, which are based on a complicated mathematical formula that takes into account results and strength of opponents, the U.S. was 15th, slightly ahead of Costa Rica (16) and Mexico (18). But in August no team in the world's top 60 fell slipped further than the U.S., which fell three places.

The U.S. ranking is its lowest since last August, when it was 19th in the world.

Costa Rica is now in its highest position in the rankings since it was introduced in 1993.

The U.S. and Mexico both finished second in group play before being eliminated in the round of 16 at this summer's World Cup, with Mexico falling to the Netherlands on a penalty kick in stoppage time while the U.S. lost to Belgium in overtime.

Costa Rica, meanwhile, won its group — one that included three former world champions in Uruguay, England and Italy — and reached the quarterfinals before losing to the Netherlands on penalty kicks.

The world's top 10 remained mostly unchanged, with World Cup champion Germany on top followed by runner-up Argentina and quarterfinalists Colombia and Belgium. Spain, the 2010 world champion, moved up a spot into a seventh-place tie with Brazil.

Panama, meanwhile, had the worst month falling 30 spots in the rankings to 63 overall.

The top 20

1,  Germany

2. Argentina

3. Netherlands

4. Colombia

5. Belgium


6. Uruguay

7t. Spain


9. Switzerland

10. France

11. Portugal

12. Chile

13. Greece

14. Italy

15. Costa Rica

16. Croatia

17. Mexico

18. U.S.

19. Bosnia and Herzegovina

20. England