With exactly 70 days to go before the FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015™, the top of the latest FIFA/Coca-Cola Women’s World Ranking makes for interesting reading following the results of the Algarve Cup in March, which traditionally serves as a dress rehearsal for the global finals.
Fresh from their triumph in Portugal, USA have closed the gap on leaders Germany to just ten points and also taken advantage of the latter’s shock 4-2 defeat at the hands of Sweden in the group stage of the Algarve Cup. France are also steadily gaining ground on the top two thanks to their first-ever appearance in that tournament’s final.
At the same time, England’s defeat of Canada in the decider of the other high-profile tournament to be held every March, the Cyprus Cup, means that the Lionesses are now just seven points behind fifth-placed Sweden, while World Cup hosts Canada have climbed one place to joint-eighth alongside Korea DPR. The North Koreans are the only team in the top ten who have not qualified for the World Cup.
Meanwhile China PR, who will be there in Canada, have suffered a serious setback after a disastrous run of four draws and five defeats, which has seen them drop three places to 16th.
A glance at the respective strengths of the World Cup groups reveals that Group D, which contains the USA (2nd), Australia (10th), Sweden (5th) and Nigeria (33rd), is the strongest on paper with an average ranking of 12.5, while Group C, with Japan (4th), Switzerland (19th), Cameroon (53rd) and Ecuador (48th), is the weakest (31).
|Moves into top ten||none|
|Moves out of top ten||none|
|Matches played in total||140|
|Most matches played||China PR, Mexico (9)|
|Biggest move by ranks||Portugal (38th, up 4)|
|Biggest drop by ranks||Hong Kong (75th, down 8)|
|Newly ranked teams||6 (Uzbekistan, Iran, United Arab Emirates, Georgia, Lebanon, Dominica)|
|Teams that are no longer ranked||1 (Indonesia)|