Africans make a move, USA end 2016 on top
Africa has produced the most dramatic moves in the latest FIFA/Coca-Cola Women’s World Ranking, due in part to the CAF Women’s Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon, with a number of sides from the Mother Continent taking strides up the table in December.
Kenya gained 35 points and ten places, the most of any country worldwide, not so much because of their performance at the African finals – where they lost all three of their matches – but thanks to their serious preparation for the tournament. Positive results in their seven friendly games leading up to Cameroon 2016 certainly stood them in good stead in the latest ranking.
Meanwhile, the two countries to lose most ground are also from Africa. Both Egypt and South Africa had disappointing outings in Cameroon and lost over 30 rating points and three places in the ranking.
Elsewhere, qualifying for the 2017 UEFA Women’s Championship and a host of other friendlies have seen changes up and down the table, with two European sides – Iceland and the Republic of Ireland – dropping more places (four) than any other team, due to defeats against Scotland and Portugal, respectively.
Denmark’s 2-0 win over Nordic rivals Sweden, courtesy of goals from Johanna Rasmussen and Nadia Nadim, sees the Danes climb back towards the top ten, moving from 20th to 15th, while the visitors have dropped a couple of places – from sixth to eighth. The Swedes remain in the top ten, alongside Brazil and Korea DPR, who switched places at ninth and tenth. The Seleção’s move comes courtesy of their impressive 1-1 draw against third-placed France, earned after Marta cancelled out Claire Lavogez’s opener in Grenoble.
The USA continue to lead the way, winning all six of their games since the last ranking was published, scoring an astonishing 39 goals in those half-dozen matches – with Christen Press bagging nine – as their year concluded with a flurry of impressive victories.
While two countries, Andorra and Rwanda, make their maiden appearance in the Ranking, no fewer than nine have dropped out due to prolonged inactivity, meaning 15 countries have attained their best-ever positions in this latest edition.
Moves into top ten
Moves out of top ten
Matches played in total
Most matches played
Biggest move by ranks
Kenya (122nd), up 10
Biggest drop by ranks
Iceland (20th), Republic of Ireland (34th) down 4
Newly ranked teams
Teams no longer ranked due to prolonged inactivity
Ecuador, Iran, Indonesia, Laos, Palestine, Kyrgyzstan, Gabon, Lebanon, Swaziland