149 matches have been played since the last FIFA/Coca-Cola Women’s World Ranking, of which 66 were UEFA Women’s EURO 2013 qualifiers. USA remain at the top of the table but are under pressure from second-placed Germany, who are only five points behind them. World champions Japan can be happy to find themselves in third place, the highest rank they have ever achieved. The Nadeshiko benefited from Brazil’s inconsistent performances: two draws against Canada (7th, up 2), narrow wins over Mexico (21st, up 1) and Costa Rica (41st, up 3) and a defeat by Denmark (12th, up 2) not only leave them with a loss of 28 points and in 4th place, but see them slip out of the top 3 for the first time since June 2008.
The 3-1 away defeat suffered by former world champions Norway (12th, unchanged) at the hands of Northern Ireland (54th, up 10) in the Women’s EURO 2013 qualifiers left its mark: while Norway remain unchanged in 12th place alongside Denmark, Northern Ireland climbed to 54th place, their highest position since the women’s world ranking was introduced in 2003.
Spain too saw an improvement in their ranking thanks to their strong performances in the EURO qualifiers, moving up to 17th place at China’s expense, who continued to drop in December. Besides Spain, several other teams reached their best-ever position, namely Mexico (21st, up 1), Scotland (22nd, up 1), Colombia (28th, up 1), Belarus (37th, up 1), Wales (46th, up 1), Papua New Guinea (52nd, up 1), Northern Ireland (54th, up 10) and Cameroon (61st, up 5). The current women’s world ranking includes 135 countries, the highest number since December 2007 when a new record was set with 150 teams.
The next FIFA/Coca-Cola Women’s World Ranking will be published on 16 March 2012.