New FIFA Rankings Released: Argentina, Lionel Messi in First Place; Chile, Spain Not in Top 10
FIFA has released their new official national team rankings.
Now, before you look at the top 10 below, just be warned, this list has been extremely controversial by soccer fans across the world. Somehow Wales cracked the top 10, and the new Copa America champions aren't even listed.
The top 10 national teams, according to FIFA.
There are quite a bit of trends to the new rankings.
South America and Europe on Top, Again
The only thing that didn't surprise soccer fans was the continental dominance of South America and Europe. All 20 World Cups have been won by these two continents. All 10 teams listed above are either from South America or Europe. Lionel Messi and Argentina are currently in first place, but you can bet German fans don't agree with that after their 1-0 win in Brazil in 2014.
North America Plummets
The Gold Cup is currently underway, but there's no denying the big elephant in the room -- North American squads took a big hit this week. The United States fell seven spots to No. 34, Mexico fell 17 spots to No. 40, and Costa Rica fell 27 spots to No. 41. Ouch! The highest ranked team that actually moved up was Trinidad and Tobago, who moved from No. 67 to No. 64. North America no longer has a team in the top 30. Iran (38) is now somehow ranked ahead of Mexico.
African national teams have always had more success domestically than globally, but the new rankings were very friendly to them. Algeria, Ivory Coast and Ghana are all ranked in the top 30 having experienced a new boost. Ivory Coast's victory at the Africa Cup of Nations certainly helped their position. Egypt stayed put at No. 55.
The biggest rise was made by Belize. They increased 37 spots to No.118 in the rankings. Paraguay went up 29 spots to No. 56. Venezuela also increased their ranking by 27 spots to No. 45. The biggest fall was made by Central Africa Republic, who fell 29 spots. Costa Rica's 27 spot drop ranks near the worst as well.
Without a doubt the biggest surprise was Wales. Wales hasn't appeared in a World Cup tournament since 1958. They have Real Madrid striker Gareth Bale, but No. 10 seems a bit high. Belgium at No. 3 is also pretty high considering they haven't qualified for two of the last three World Cups. Even England at No. 9 doesn't appear very appropriate.
On the flip side, Chile got snubbed. Led by Claudio Bravo, arguably the best goalkeeper in the world, they managed to finish at No.11. Chile recently won the Copa America championship against Argentina. Spain is also a mystery. Despite winning a World Cup and the last two UEFA European Championships in the last five years, they couldn't crack the top 10 either. Spain is ranked No. 12, one spot ahead of Uruguay.
What do you think about the new FIFA rankings? Let us know below.
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