Thursday 20 December 2018, 08:55

Belgium end year on top, France 2018’s top mover

Belgium will begin 2019 at the top of the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking, having preserved their single-point lead over France at the table’s summit and emerged as the Ranking’s ‘Team of the Year’.

Les Bleus’ stellar 2018 does not go unrecognised though, with the world champions established as the year’s ‘Best Mover’, having gained more points (165) since December 2017 than any other nation. The French lead that particular table from Uruguay (7th, unchanged) and Kosovo (131st, unchanged), who have registered net gains of 151 and 133 points respectively.

The Kosovans, meanwhile, are the biggest climbers in terms of ranks gained, having moved up 46 places since this time last year, comfortably ahead of the respective 31 and 30-place rises registered by Kuwait (158th, unchanged) and El Salvador (70th, unchanged).

It has been a good year in general for Europe, which now accounts for 31 of the top 50 teams – two up from December 2017. Asia has also boosted its top-50 numbers from two to three, with these rises coming at the expense of Africa, which saw its representation drop from eight to five.

The Ranking’s latest edition shows precious few changes, however, having been impacted by just eight ‘A’ matches in a quiet month for international football. The top 100, in fact, is almost entirely unaltered bar for a single-place swapping of positions between Oman (82nd, up 1) and Zambia (83rd, down 1).

The month’s biggest movers are Guyana (177th, up 3) whose CONCACAF Nations League qualifier draw against Barbados (162nd, down 3) in September was recently reclassified as a forfeit win due to the Barbadians fielding two ineligible players. But there are also modest rises for the likes of Zimbabwe (114th, up 1), Sierra Leone (115th, up 1), Kazakhstan (119th, up 1), Guinea-Bissau (120th, up 1), Indonesia (159th, up 1), Belize (160th, up 1) and Nepal (161st, up 1.)

The next FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking will be published on 7 February 2019.

LeaderBelgium (unchanged)
Moves into top 10None
Moved out of top 10None
Matches played in total8
Most matches playedMalaysia, Vietnam (4 games each)
Biggest move by pointsGuyana (up 8 points)
Biggest move by ranksGuyana (up 3 ranks)
Biggest drop by pointsBarbados (down 7 points)
Biggest drop by ranksBarbados (down 3 ranks)
Newly ranked teamsNone
Teams that are no longer rankedNone
Inactive teams, not rankedNone