Belgium crowned Team of the Year, Qatar 2019’s biggest climber

19 Dec 2019

Belgium are the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking’s ‘Team of the Year’ for the second successive time after a record-breaking year for the global ladder. The Red Devils hold on to top spot in a December table barely impacted by just 19 friendlies, but with 1082 international A matches – an all-time high since the Ranking’s 1993 inception – having already been played.

World champions France and Brazil also remain in second and third, the positions they held in December 2018, but the make-up of the top five has changed, with England climbing one place to reach fourth and Uruguay moving up to fifth on the back of a two-spot rise. Argentina (9th) and Colombia (10th) have also entered the top ten at the expense of Switzerland (12th) and Denmark (16th), who slipped four and six places respectively over the course of the year.

The Ranking’s ‘Mover of the Year’, meanwhile, is Qatar. The 2022 FIFA World Cup™ hosts gained an impressive 138 points over the course of a year in which they won the AFC Asian Cup and made a strong start to the Asian Zone World Cup qualifiers. Besides accumulating the biggest points haul, Qatar also climbed a year-high 38 places, followed closely by fellow climbers Algeria (up 32 ranks) and Japan (up 22 ranks).

Given the teams who have made most progress in 2019, it’s no surprise to find that the regional composition of the top 50 has changed over the year, with Europe’s dominance diminished. UEFA has lost three places in the top 50 compared to the end of 2018, and now has 28 teams, whereas Concacaf (4), AFC (4) and CAF (4) have all gained one spot apiece.

But despite all the change witnessed over 2019, the year has ended on a quiet note, with only the most modest of movements due to the scarcity of fixtures since the Ranking’s November edition. Nonetheless, eight teams – Bahrain (99th, up 1), Bolivia (75th, up 1), Korea Republic (40th, up 1), Lesotho (139th, up 1), Solomon Islands (141st, up 1), South Africa (71st, up 1), St Kitts and Nevis (139th, up 1) and Suriname (141st, up 1) – have edged a single rung up the ladder, and will hope to continue that progress in 2020.

The next FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking will be published on 20 February 2020.

LeaderBelgium (unchanged)
Moves into top 10none
Moves out of top 10none
Matches played in total19
Most matches playedBahrain, Saudi Arabia (5 games each)
Biggest move by pointsBahrain (up 6 points)
Biggest move by ranksBahrain, Bolivia, Korea Republic, Lesotho, Solomon Islands, South Africa, St Kitts and Nevis, Suriname (up 1 rank each)
Biggest drop by pointsUnited Arab Emirates (minus 4 points)
Biggest drop by ranksHong Kong (minus 2 ranks)
Newly ranked teamsNone
Teams that are no longer rankedNone
Inactive teams, not rankedCook Islands

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