Nigeria went a step down in the latest FIFA Monthly Rankings released on Thursday. The Super Eagles are ranked eighth in Africa and 51st in the world.
Argentina will end the year on top of the world, leading the way in the final World Ranking of 2016 from neighbours Brazil in second. La Albiceleste thus take the “Team of the Year” title from Belgium, whom they overtook at the summit in April this year, and where they have stayed for the subsequent eight editions of the ranking. In all, the Argentinians won ten of their 15 games in 2016, losing three times and drawing twice.
Edgardo Bauza’s side are the ninth-best movers of 2016, but the title of “Mover of the Year” – for the side that has gained the most ranking points since December 2015 – goes to UEFA EURO 2016 finalists France. Les Bleus won 13 of their 17 games in 2016 and drew three, with their sole defeat, their most significant for some years, coming in the continental finale after extra time against Portugal.
Argentina also shared the pain of defeat in their own continental showpiece event, the Copa América, losing to Chile on penalties in June. Despite this shared negative experience, both now share a place in ranking history with their respective awards for 2016.
With only 15 men’s international “A” games played since the release of the last ranking, there have been few significant changes, with no movement in the top ten. The biggest winners of the month can be found much further down the table: Rwanda (92nd, up 9). Only three further teams, Indonesia (171st, up 8), Myanmar (159th, up 7), and Estonia (116th, up 6), have jumped more than five positions since the November edition.
Looking at the table in terms of places gained this year, Guinea-Bissau (68th, up 78 since December 2015) and Curaçao (75th, up 76 over the past year) are the biggest winners of 2016. The African side had a stellar year, qualifying for their first-ever CAF Africa Cup of Nations, while the tiny Caribbean island of Curaçao secured several positive results in qualifying for next year’s Caribbean and CONCACAF Gold Cups.
Both teams also figure in the top ten of the Mover of the Year table (see below) in terms of points gained.
The regional composition of the top 50 has changed somewhat compared to this time last year. Asia now has four teams in the top 50 (up 3), at the expense of Europe (28, down 1), Africa (7, down 1), and CONCACAF (3, down 1). South America continues to punch above its weight, with 80 per cent of CONMEBOL teams in the top 50 (eight, the same as in December 2015.