USA falls to No. 34 in FIFA rankings

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Photo by Howard C. Smith/ISIphotos.com

With the results not going the United States national team's way, it's no surprise that Jurgen Klinsmann's side continues its slide down the FIFA rankings.

The United States fell three spots to No. 34 — sandwiched in between 2010 World Cup foes Ghana and Algeria — following its win over Honduras and loss to Ecuador.

The U.S. opponents for next month's friendlies, France and Slovenia, come in at Nos. 15 and 27, respectively, while former U.S. coach Bob Bradley inherits an Egypt team ranked No. 29.

Mexico remains the highest-ranking CONCACAF team at No. 22, followed by the United States and then Jamaica (No. 50). 

The top four teams in the world remained unchanged, with Spain leading the way followed by the Netherlands, Germany and Uruguay, respectively.

What do you make of the latest rankings?

Share your thoughts below.

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73 Responses to USA falls to No. 34 in FIFA rankings

  1. MrTuktoyaktuk says:

    Favorable results in the November European friendlies should help (emphasis favorable).

  2. Second City says:

    Irrelevant as they always are.

  3. Kevin_Amold says:

    Eh.

  4. AC says:

    Ranking sounds about right.

  5. Dillon says:

    When was the last time we were this low?

  6. b says:

    Lowest since 1997, which I presume was under Bob Bradley…..

    FIFA rankings are irrelevant, but I seem to remember numerous people using them to argue that Bradley should be fired only a few months ago. Just sayin.

  7. Dillon says:

    Only time we were lower was when we were 35th in October 1997. It is true that these rankings don’t mean a lot, but they mean something.

  8. maka says:

    FIRE KLINNSMAN!

  9. Aaron in StL says:

    No… fire whoever keeps missing our payments. Blatter is just pissed he hasn’t seen the cash for his scientific ranking system.

    FIFA’s system is more bogus than the BCS

  10. Peretz48 says:

    The ranking system is the least of FIFA’s concerns. I’m sure others can come up with alternative methodologies, but I don’t think the rankings would be that much different.

  11. Khan says:

    Rankings have a purpose, and it’s a general overview based on your recent results. Is it perfect? No. But it does its job and is fairly accurate in showcasing a recent string of results over a few years.

    If we are ranked 34 it is because over the last 2 years we have dropped considerably in our team quality. I would say that is very accurate.

  12. Khan says:

    Bob: Losing.

    These rankings are far more reflecting on Bradley then Klinsmann. Don’t forget, this formula factors in results for a couple years.

  13. Khan says:

    Wow, grammar fail.

    “These rankings are more reflective on Bradley than Klinsmann.”

  14. AS says:

    Ranking are not accurate – Just go back to a few years back when the US was ranked #5. Enough said.

  15. Klinsmann is Bradley says:

    For those saying that Bradley is the reason our rankings are so low, look at Klinsmann’s results if results before the Klinsmann era weren’t included we’d be below 50th.

  16. isAF says:

    You took the words right out of my mouth. I believe at that time people just assumed we’d walk over Czech Republic and Ghana at the WC

  17. beachbum says:

    ridiculous spin as usual

  18. isAF says:

    I believe we’re a top 30 country. Now if only our league was in the top 30 in the world. Arguably MLS is on the level of League One or 3rd division Spanish football. Once we improve, the NT improve. but probably won’t be a decade or more til the NT is consistently in the top 20 and MLS is one of the best leagues outside of Europe

  19. pgloerse says:

    I am sure the euro qualifiers are helping the coefficient of the European teams.

  20. beachbum says:

    last 2 years? wrong again

    at the WC, for example, the USMNT won their group for the first time in some 60 years by winning their final group stage game ever, overcoming two honest goals disallowed in the process to do it. That is much less than 2 years ago.

    That is also Quality, even if you don’t get it…and you don’t.

  21. pgloerse says:

    It’s top 30 man. I would say somewhere in the low 20′s. Might be a good idea to have a league ranking – good for debate. Just curious – where would you put these leagues:

    The A -League
    J-league
    Egyptian League

    As per level with league 1 or Spanish third I think you are one rung low.

  22. Khan says:

    Spin?

    That isn’t spin, bud, that is how the rankings work.

  23. Khan says:

    LOL

    You don’t have a clue how formulaic rankings work.

  24. RB says:

    They already have, and they often are, actually.

  25. RB says:

    Current system measures results over the past 4 years, weighted towards the more recent.

  26. A.S. says:

    Exactly correct. These ranking are utterly, absolutely irrelevant. There is not a signle thing that would change if the US were instead ranked #3 or ranked #103.

    That said, it’s always fun to argue about rankings in sport – whether it’s the Best XI or national team rankings or whatever. I’d say that the ranking is slightly better than where the US really is. I tend to trust the ELO ranking more, and ELO has the US at #38.

  27. Khan says:

    Hence my comment about the past 2 years being most important.

  28. RB says:

    Yes, I was not disagreeing with you, just adding that point. Indeed I agree with your comments here. Like someone said above, I prefer to look at the Elo rankings.

  29. John says:

    Fire Klinsman is pretty funny considering he has

    not put his a-team on the field yet and has been

    changing lineups, positions and players along with our style of play and everyone is in an uproar that we lost a couple of games and have not scored. That is funny.

    Give it a chance. I for one am happy to see us playing a more attacking style of play compared to the bunker down counter attack we have been playing.

  30. Second City says:

    I’m also curious how that was spin?

    Listen, it’s possible to be honest, at times critical but still maintain a reasonable perspective.

    Far too many people on here disregard any opinion that isn’t lavishing praise on Bob Bradley or his son, for that matter.

    Both polarizing sides are ridiculous. There IS a gray area with valid points.

  31. Khan says:

    Yeah, I think ELO adds more factors in. Generally like the rankings.

  32. beachbum says:

    wrong again, I get it very well, and it has nothing to do with “the last 2 years we have dropped considerably in our team quality,” as you claim, which I am happy to continue to point out. Our recent drop in form has knocked us down a little though.

    I bet we can agree on something…these rankings are _______ :)

  33. Khan says:

    The changes have happened much quicker than anticipated, you can see the players adapting right before your eyes. It’s exciting to see triangle passing, give-and-goes in the final third instead of what we had.

  34. beachbum says:

    your comment was “the last 2 years we have dropped considerably in our team quality”

    very different :)

  35. RB says:

    Even FIFA accepts the Elo approach as proper and valid — for women’s soccer.

    Too much of an old boy network to introduce it for men’s, though, it seems. Might ruffle too many feathers on too frequent a basis.

  36. PetedeLA says:

    “reflective of…”

  37. pux90mex says:

    Elo ratings are significantly more accurate. However, they have the U.S. even lower at 38th. Not saying that’s the level the U.S. is truly is, but simply where results place us. Once CONCACAF qualifying starts I’d expect the U.S. to move into the low 20s and high teens, because they should be victories and will be weighted more heavily than a friendly.

    This ranking pretty much slashes all hope of being the head of a group though for the Brazil World Cup. Jumping 26-30 places isn’t feasible with the limited amount of time left. That is the only reason to care about these ratings.

    Other than that, I’d much rather have the U.S. playing tough road games in France and Slovenia (as they are doing) that will be a tall task to get points from, rather than hosting Norway and Guatemala in L.A. Come the world cup, we will have a much better team, no matter what the rankings display.

  38. Dimidri says:

    How do people think the US is not a top 20 team? Over the past 3 world cups we have averaged a round of 16 placement, gotten great results against Portugal, Mexico, almost Germany, Italy in 06(only team not to lose), England, winning the group, etc. I totally understand that the formulaic ranking is what it is, but I don’t get people who think this ranking is ‘about right’

  39. PetedeLA says:

    For the record, my comments are meant to be tongue in cheek (even the grammar correction).

    I’m no Bradley fan. While I’m happy about the change that Klinsmann represents, I just don’t feel like there was a legitimate search for the best candidate.

    Kenny from WFD said it best several years ago, (paraphrase) “The guy got GERMANY to third place on their OWN SOIL.” In an of itself, that’s not really that much of an accomplishment considering Germany’s track record in tournaments.

    Bob was never going to take us to the next level. But the jury is still out on Klinsmann.

    Meanwhile, Bob’s team is ranked higher than us.

    Crossing my fingers that the next friendlies go better.

    I for one actually put a bit of stock in the rankings. Take a look at the top five and tell me they aren’t deserving.

  40. DingDong says:

    Let’s adopt a new rule. You may not call for a coach to be fired when has not been around long enough for you to know how to spell his name.

  41. Khan says:

    Our record against good teams is atrocious. Occasionally doing OKAY against a good team is not indicative of anything really.

    We lost to Panama in a real competition. We tied England. You listed a few teams we either tied or beat over a decade. A decade.

  42. CroCajun1003 says:

    To be fair, the US has a great advantage in reaching the World Cup because of the lack of competition in our region.

    Do you think the US team has been significantly better than some of the South American or European teams that just miss the cut?

    Do you think this US squad would be a lock to qualify for the Euros?

    Yes, we’ve had some good results, but we’ve had some bad ones too, and to be fair, we’ve been put into position to earn some of those good results due to our favorable region. Its something you can’t discount when discussing rankings like this.

  43. DC Josh says:

    The top 8 ranked countries, minus Brazil, in December 2013 will be the seeded teams in the 2014 World Cup draw. Pretty relevant if you ask me.

  44. Judging Amy says:

    “There is not a signle thing that would change if the US were instead ranked #3 or ranked #103.”

    Agree wholeheartedly with this if you mean that the ranking speaks very little about a team’s quality (as that very mediocre 2006 WC team ranked top 10 showed), but don’t the rankings matter somewhat for seeding?

    I am of course too lazy to look this up myself.

  45. DC Josh says:

    LOL +1

  46. kodi says:

    Electric Light Orchestra?

  47. RB says:

    Can’t post the link here, but just Google “elo ratings”.

  48. RB says:

    Pretty relevant if you have any realistic chance to break into those top 8, perhaps.

  49. Indigo Montoya says:

    It’s also exciting to see the ball in the back of the opponent’s net, but that isn’t happening thus far either. Somebody, anybody, needs to start scoring or else all of the beautiful football in the world is for naught.

  50. beachbum says:

    another thought on this

    there is a time and place for counter attacking style, bunkering, etc.

    what I like is the attempt to add to the USMNT quiver, although I sincerely hope the idea isn’t to scrap other tactical elements for the sake of attempting to play one style all the time

    I hope to see some of the old strengths integrated into Klinsmann’s work and upgraded instead of discarded…kind of like with how I see Gooch fitting in

  51. beachbum says:

    +1

  52. beachbum says:

    in South Africa, the USMNT scored 3 goals vs. Slovenia in one half. Slovenia won their Euro qualifying group and conceded only 4 goals in doing so

    that’s how I’d judge last cycle at least, to answer your question re. Euro qualifying

  53. TommyOC says:

    Since the rankings weigh historic results over a multi-year period, an easy way to increase our ranking is to either drop bad results from the tail-end of that window or pick up good results on the current side.

    Unfortunately, our better results are losing their influence (e.g., Confed Cup) on our rankings while we haven’t had a notable win since WC 2010, if not earlier. (Gold Cup wins somewhat count but a victory against Mexico is the only “notable” win that could’ve come from that tourney.)

    Even if we win the next two friendlies, they’re only friendlies; with Euro qualifying playoffs and WCQ already underway for some countries, and the US not in any meaningful games until their own qualifiers start next year, we might even find ourselves deeper in the hole no matter what we do.

    We will never sniff Top-10 again without playing (and winning) more meaningful games against more challenging opponents more often. That’s the curse of CONCACAF, folks.

  54. Eurosnob says:

    Fifa rankings are a joke. Considering that Greece is ranked higher than Argentina, we should not be complaining that the US is ranked just below Ghana, a country that knocked them out from the last WC.

  55. bryan says:

    i don’t think so. i never heard anyone with half a brain judge BB by the FIFA ranking.

  56. Chris says:

    I seem to remember a couple of World Cups ago when we were ranked high enough that we should have been seeded, but FIFA, when they put together the draw, decided not to seed us (even announcing a day or two before that the US would not be happy).

  57. bryan says:

    but to be fair, we never really scored that much anyway. so in that regard, nothing is different. the US still cannot finish. the good news is at least now we are creating more chances.

  58. bryan says:

    the fact that you can list our good results from memory is a perfect example of why. we shouldn’t be able to list out a few results and be like that is why. instead, we should have a whole host of quality wins against quality sides. in other words, consistency.

  59. Mason says:

    Reyna was fouled and that was no PK.

  60. Dimidri says:

    The thing everybody above is leaving out is that the US has averaged a round of 16 spot at the last three world cups and a finals appearance at the last Confederations Cup and most observers would expect that trend to continue-that seems to be the most objective way of determining how good teams across different continents are, not friendly results.

  61. bryan says:

    yeah that is a fair point. but, to play devil’s advocate, a lot of our advancing was simply due to other teams failing. 2002 is a great example. as is the confeds cup. having said that, the US did do enough to put themselves in a position to move on. so they deserve credit for that. i think a lot of people look at 1998 and 2006 as examples of the US’s inconsistency too.

  62. TimN says:

    These rankings are difficult at best because you’re putting together results from teams with often vastly different personnel from match to match. The U.S. may field a B+ side against one opponent, then an A side against another, then a C side against another, then another FIFA ranking comes out that takes those three games into account.

    Having said that, Klinsmann has been fielding some vastly different line-ups since being in charge. He has to do this in order to figure out the best core of players to play his system. Klinsmann also knows that friendly results don’t mean squat in the grand scheme of things, and the real measure of his success will come in WCQ, the next Gold Cup, and WC 2014.

  63. abc says:

    I never said the people who were doing it had half a brain…

  64. pd says:

    +100000000000000000000000E

  65. pd says:

    we’re not giving up early goals or getting stupid (or inexplicable) red cards…

  66. Paul Thomas says:

    This is literally just made up.

    The US both scored and gave up a LOT of goals under Bob Bradley. Go look up the US’s rankings in Nate Silver’s system prior to the last World Cup (9th in the world in offense, 29th in defense), or for that matter, just go look up the USA’s scorelines in the Hex (2-0, 2-1, 2-2, 1-3, 3-0, 1-2, 2-1, 1-0, 3-2, 2-2). At the Confederations Cup, the team put five goals past Spain, Brazil and Italy. (Of course, it gave up nine.)

    Facts > spouting off random nonsense.

  67. Paul Thomas says:

    Hey, the results don’t lie. The team has sucked pond water (under both coaches) since it came back from South Africa.

    This is not we’re-all-going-to-die alarmism– I think it’s just a run of bad play– just facts. I think the US might be under .500 in that time period, or at best just over .500, against a quite mediocre schedule. Not the way you stay in the top 20 teams.

  68. Paul Thomas says:

    US wouldn’t be a lock to qualify, but it would usually qualify, albeit with the periodic white-knuckle playoff game or two. Might get out of the group stage once per 3-4 competitions, and win an elimination game once every generation. In a lifetime and hosting a few times, it might even win one.

    Long run, the US has (once you rule out all the top athletes playing other sports) a player pool of similar quality to Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, Hungary, teams of that level. Not great, not terrible.

  69. Paul Thomas says:

    Cherrypicking results from large competitions is a very poor and UNobjective way to judge how good a team is.

    Friendlies are not perfect, but they’re pretty good, and they vastly expand the sample size of games, which in turn vastly expands the predictive power of a ranking system.