USMNT move up to No. 22 in latest FIFA rankings

USMNT Starting 11

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By DAN KARELL

With four wins in their last five matches, including three in World Cup qualifiers, the United States National Team has parlayed their form into a better FIFA ranking.

In the July rankings released on Thursday, the U.S. moved up six places to No. 22, passing France, Ghana, Norway, the Czech Republic, Denmark, and Mali on their way up. The U.S. weren’t the only big movers on the day, as Brazil used their Confederations Cup title to jump 13 places into ninth place, Peru jumped 11 spots to move to 19th position, and Ukraine moved up 11 places to 28th.

Despite losing in the Confederations Cup final, Spain still hold the top spot, with Germany right behind them. The top five is rounded out with Colombia in third, Argentina in fourth, and the Netherlands in fifth. Mexico, the only other CONCACAF team in the Top 25, currently occupy 20th place.

What do you think of this news? Do you agree with the U.S.’s overall ranking? Do you believe Brazil should be ranked above Spain?

Share your thoughts below.

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62 Responses to USMNT move up to No. 22 in latest FIFA rankings

  1. Gary Page says:

    Sounds about right, but doubt we are better than France which would seem to be under rated. And Ghana, well, they are the US bete noir, so no telling if we are better or not. Now let’s win the Gold Cup and finish out the Hex in good fashion.

    • Increase says:

      France doesn’t have issues with skill or talent. It’s just everything else about them.

      Let’s just call it lack of focus. The last world cup sorta highlights this.

    • divers suck says:

      Yep…And didn’t Denmark clean our clocks recently?

    • You’re right, France is a better team than us. They have wonderful players – Benzema, Ribery, Lloris etc. that could rip our players apart. But the rankings are what they are, I guess.

      I am very happy seeing the US move up in the rankings though. Kind of shows we’re getting serious with our soccer.

  2. YO says:

    Germany needs to be above Spain, granted not much action going on, but to me they are the favorites for WC 2014, very closely followed by Brazil. The USA is about right where they are…again not all countries compete often enough.

    • Elite Hunting says:

      Why should Germany be above Spain? It was Spain that were Euro champions, not Germany. Alert us the next time Germany wins an important competition. Then maybe it’s worth consideration. Until then, not so much. Also, Brazil is clearly WC2014 favorite since the tournament is in Brazil.

      • M says:

        I think Yo is expressing a more subjective opinion then FIFA’s ranking. Based on talent and league strength I would also agree that Germany is a stronger side. Spain appears to be very vulnerable IMO, too.

      • louis z says:

        I think Germany may win the WC 2014. Although they haven’t won much at the national level, they have a strong side and having their core players in the CL finals from both BL teams proves the point.

  3. ex_sweeper says:

    The formula used by FIFA awards teams most for participation in FIFA competitions, natch. So Brazil, which didn’t have to qualify for WC 2014, has seen a decline in ranking over the past year. They’ll stay low compared to their quality until after the WC, because they can’t make up points very fast in friendlies. It’s a mistake to consider FIFA rankings as indicators of how a team is doing in the short term.

    What interests me about the FIFA equation is how they rank the confederations:

    UEFA/CONMEBOL 1.00 CONCACAF 0.88
    AFC/CAF 0.86 OFC 0.85

    There is more than a 15% difference between UEFA and Oceania. I guess, FIFA doesn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings.

    • AlexH says:

      That all depends on where the bottom of the chart is. If it is at 0 OFC is given way too much credit, if it starts at, say, 84 then it might be right :)

    • bottlcaps says:

      FIFA competitions, and Confederation tournaments are a larger multiplier as opposed to friendlies. The confederation your team belongs to is another multiplier.

      The fact that the US won a string of official competitions in WCQ has a lot to do with that. Beating Germany’s “B” team even in in a friendly, was worth more to the US than tying Mexico or beating any number of Concacaf teams, simply because Germany was so highly rated. When you have a competition against a higher ranked opponent, especially one that is 20+ slots above you, a win, or even a tie, will gain your team a significant amount of points. You also gain points by playing alot, which the US did..

      Bora, Arena. and now Klinsmann. all put together the best US team available against higher ranked opponents. But Bob Bradley had a different philosophy. He would intentionally play teams with up-and-coming or peripheral players to test them, not just against lower ranked opponents, but higher ranked opponents as well. The US lost a majority of these matches and sunk really low in FIFA rankings. I think this was one of the reasons US Soccer let him go.

      • Joe Soccer says:

        This is not really true. Last month the US got less ranking points for beating Germany than it did for any of the wins over Honduras, Panama or Jamaica. The least points the US got for any of the games against CONCACAF teams was 976.8 for beating Honduras. The Germany win was only worth 558.36 points. The multiplier for World Cup qualifiers is so large that the US will get more points from almost any qualifier win than for almost any friendly win, no matter the competition.

        To put it into further perspective, beating Belize (ranked number 130) next week in the Gold Cup will be worth about the same number of points to the US in the FIFA rankings than the win over Germany was worth (554.4 versus 558.36).

    • Leo says:

      I’m guessing, of course: is it possible that any greater than 15% between Oceania and UEFA would cause an imbalance in the rankings (don’t laugh) in the case of a win?

  4. AlexH says:

    A bit off topic, but if you took the centennial uniforms that are shown in the picture and added the diagonal blue stripe that would make a pretty cool uniform.

  5. Dean Stell says:

    Ehhh…..those teams we passed make me think the rankings are roughly right. I mean, you can’t take these rankings as absolutes. #22 isn’t going to be awesomely better than #23. But if you look at the teams around you, you should see teams of roughly similar caliber and that seems to be what we have here.

  6. Jawaad says:

    My bias might be showing through a bit here, but although it’s 2 spots ahead, we are better than Mexico and to this point deserve Concacaf’s top spot. The rankings don’t mean all that much right now, but at this juncture of qualifying and Mexico’s recent from, Confederation Cup included, I’m just not all that impressed with their form. I’ll admit, I was pretty terrified of Mexico coming into qualifying and thought they even had some potential in terms of next year’s World Cup, but my opinion has definitely changed on them. Really just an observation and honestly not that big of a deal, but just a slight gripe.

    If this is their Golden Generation, I’m not impressed.

    • Rob Jones says:

      Yes your bias is showing through a bit indeed.

    • Todd Marsch says:

      Yeah, Mexico is in a run of bad form (although the win against Japan in the last Confed Cup game might signal that’s coming to an end), and the US is in a run of good form. However, Mexico still has more talent than the US right now and is more likely to do well at the World Cup. I suspect Mexico will right things in the final stretch of qualifying, qualify comfortably, and make it to at least the 2nd round in Brazil.

      That said, if the US can win the Gold Cup, they’ll probably move past Mexico in the FIFA rankings.

      • Shawn says:

        Talent doesn’t mean better team. And I think the difference in talent has been overstated as well. The fact that they can’t figure out how to score with their ‘golden generation’ says all you need to know about their lack of cohesion.

        • Rob Jones says:

          Chepo plays a big part in Mexico’s inability to score, he is a terrible tactician. Plus when you have a midfield with Torrado and Zavala you aren’t going to create much. The midfield should be Herrera and Enriquez – if he is in form. Carlos Vela can definitely come in handy right now as well.

          The Hex Mexico isn’t the best Mexico has to offer, FAR from it.

        • Dennis says:

          It is absolutely true that in soccer (like most team sports) the team with the best players is not always the best team. There is a lot more to a coordinated effort than simply having the best players (but having outstanding individuals certainly can help). Furthermore, the best team is not always the team with the best tactical plan so even “best” teams do not always win.

    • louis z says:

      Well, we are not going to have to wait long to find who is better, we have 2 cracks at Mexico, one in the GC and one in the qualifiers.

  7. Yusef says:

    Rankings don’t impact World Cup seeding, right?

    • jrowe says:

      I believe they do as they are used to seed the teams into pods for the selection of world cup groups. 8 teams in each pod with the host nation given a spot in Pod 1. So assuming everyone in front of us qualifies, even though they all won’t it would put us in Pod 3. It would be really helpful to climb up to that second pod needless to say.
      Correct me if I am wrong.

      • bottlcaps says:

        You are partly right, there are 8 seeds and supposedly, the only seeds. But with FIFA’s differing prohibitions against meeting teams within the same confederation if possible in the group stage,, and you have one confederation with almost a third of the WC slots, pot selection becomes problematic, so FIFA does what it says it doesn’t do, it seeds teams, it does this by putting a majority of the UEFA teams into one pot, essentially seeding them.

        One of the biggest determinants of how well the US can do in the WC is not be seeding, it is which confederations FIFA puts into a pot. Based on previous WC, the US does well against a lot of SA teams, about 40/60 against Euro teams and terrible against African teams, especially Ghana. Should Concacaf be dumped into the same pot as Africa, we have a good draw, if they dump Concacaf with SA, or Asia, then we have a poor draw..
        Of course FIFA also seeds by whom they put into the “unseeded pots” as this is not random, FIFA assignes pot 2 to higher ranked UEFA and SA teams. Pot 3 are lower ranked UEFA team or lower ranked SA teams.

        Most confederation besides UEFA will get their own pot shared with another confederation to avoid the FIFA prohibition against facing their own confederation teams in the group stage. Concacaf is not in an enviable position as they have only 3.5 slots and therefore must be put into a pot with SA/Africa/Asia. or UEFA 2.
        The US can improve it’s chances in advancing, not that it has a better seed, Unless it;s ranked high enough to get a seed, but what pot the US shares with what confederation.

      • Artie says:

        Ussoccerfan is right. Only eight (well, seven plus one) teams get seeded according to FIFA rank. (Or sometimes previous World Cup results: whichever screws the US over more.) The other three pools are determined by continent. In 2010, our pool was Asia, Oceania, NA. In 2006, we were just grouped with Asia. And in 2002, it was NA and Africa. Not sure what the groupings will be next year.

        • Paul Thomas says:

          It depends in part on the intercontinental playoff results and in part on who the seeded teams are. They try to put all the teams from a particular confederation into a particular pot.

    • USsoccerfan90 says:

      Only for the top 7 teams plus the host nation. These teams get put into one pot, therefore they do not get put into group with the other top teams in the world.

      • Mike Santoro says:

        Assuming CONCACAF 4th can beat New Zealand and SA 5th can beat Uzbekistan(or Oman). We’ll be paired with Asia as we’d each have 4 teams and make a complete pot. Since most likely there will be 3 seeded SA teams and 5 seeded Euro teams theyll pair the remaining SA teams with africa. We’d end up with 1-2 euro teams( if 1 euro then also an African) and a SA team. If you get a seeded SA team you’ll get an African team. Otherwise it’d be a seeded Euro (Spain, Germany, Italy, etc) and a non seeded team (Bosnia, Portugal, Montenegro, etc)

  8. K says:

    what do all the countries ranked 1-21 have in common?

    Answer: a promotion relegation league system.

    • Jason B says:

      Answer: better soccer teams, better soccer players

      • Francois says:

        Really? So France, who we are above in the rankings, doesn’t have better soccer teams or players. The rankings are bs, they rarely show the actual state of international soccer.

    • Eurosnob says:

      Plus no salary cap!

    • Simon_M says:

      answer: more fans, a fanbase that demands media attention, tv shows about the game, movies and tv series with plots non/fiction that revolve around the lives of players on and off the pitch, higher player salaries, entrenched history and consumer loyalty that creates an environment where a team that falls into the lower division has a shot at re-surfacing to the premier division etc…

    • Artie says:

      What do all the countries ranked 23 – 39 have in common?

      Answer: a promotion-relegation league system.

      Don’t see your point, K.

    • john says:

      This is a moot point.The American professional sports structure would never adhere to a promotion relegation system. Why would a potential investor risk it?

  9. David M says:

    The main problem with the ranking system (or at least one of them) is that a team gets 0 points for any loss and positive points otherwise. So if, let’s say, the US plays Brazil in Rio, a very close and well-played game, and loses 2-3, the US will get 0 points. But if the US beats Bahamas at home, in a very dull and unconvincing display, 1-0, it will get a few hundred points. To me, the former game should earn the US more ranking points than the latter.

    So, the system clearly favors those teams that primarily play weak opposition.

    • Joe Soccer says:

      Actually, playing weak competition in a friendly generally hurts a good team’s ranking. For instance look at the friendly tomorrow with Guatemala. Right now the US has 865 ranking points. Because that number is based on the average number of points from the games you’ve played, if the US beats Guatemala tomorrow it’s points total will actually drop to 832. Why? Because beating Guatemala in a friendly is only worth 282.48 points. Even beating them makes the average points per game for the US drop.

      Just to put that number into perspective, if a team averaged 282 points in all their matches their current rating would be 119. A really weak team might be able to increase their ranking by playing lots of other weak teams, assuming they’d win all the games. But good teams can really only increase their ranking by beating other good teams in friendlies, or winning Cup games, qualifiers and regional tournament games against good or at least decent teams.

      • David M says:

        True, but if the US were to lose to Brazil in a hypothetical friendly tomorrow, its points total would drop quite a bit more. So any win against Guatemala is better than any loss to Brazil.

  10. SBI Troll says:

    Peru ahead of the United States? Ives must be giggling like an school girl.

  11. Tom Patton says:

    These rankings mean nothing, NOTHING!!!!!
    All that matters is what happens next summer.

  12. Rey Pygsterio says:

    What the hell has Greece ever done?

  13. HoboMike says:

    Colombia is third. Wait, what?

    • Rob Jones says:

      Colombia is becoming very overrated, they are pretty good but being ranked 3rd next to Spain and Germany? This is ludicrous.

      Wait, this is the FIFA rankings.

      Carry on.

      • andres says:

        colombia tied argentina in argentina las month & tied brazil 6 months ago…also in 2nd place in conmebol behind argentina with 1 game in hand…united states would finish dead last in conmebol..but cary on

        • Rob Jones says:

          Argentina was robbed, they had a legit goal called off, Colombia didn’t impress me in that game. Were very dirty. They tied Brazil in a friendly right? I doubt they would tie with the Confederations Cup Brazil squad, who beat the crap out of Spain…

          United States would finish dead last in CONMEBOL? I don’t disagree with you the USMNT is mediocre at best.

  14. THomas says:

    I think the ELO system should be used. I think I’ve seen it applied to soccer in an article before. I don’t have a huge issue with FIFAs system, but if ELO is good enough for chess players, it’s good enough here.

  15. Michael Tatro says:

    So why is Mexico still ranked in the top 25