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USA loses #1 FIFA ranking

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It happens.

Soccer: International Friendly Women's Soccer-Switzerland at USA Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

The United States sat at the top of FIFA’s women’s rankings for almost two years, surpassing #2 Germany in July of 2015 to claim the #1 spot from them. But no longer, not after an Olympics cut short and a bad showing at their own SheBelieves tournament. Germany is, once again, the #1-ranked women’s team. You can read more on FIFA’s ranking formula here.

The top 10 tends to shift a bit, but only for a certain number of countries; for example, the rankings at this time last year were

1.USA
2. Germany
3. France
4. England
5. Australia
6. Sweden
7. Japan
8. Brazil
9. Korea DPR
10. Canada

To a certain extent that’s to be expected. A team is not going to necessarily leapfrog into the top 10 in the span of a year, and there’s also a fairly large gulf between the top 10 and the next 10 teams, with an even bigger dropoff after that. Canada jumping so much in the rankings is partially due to their bronze medal run at the Olympics. But the United States, with their early Olympic knockout against Sweden, and now losses against England and France, will have to once again contemplate the words of Ricky Bobby: “If you’re not first, you’re last.”

Not that FIFA rankings are the be-all end-all measure of quality. It’s nice for USSF’s marketing to be able to say the USWNT is the #1 team in the world, but at the end of the day, FIFA rankings, like most attempts to boil down a complex value to a single number, are just a general measure of a team’s position. This rankings drop shouldn’t have an effect on the team or how they’re able to carry out their development at the moment.

Is this all handwaving in an attempt to reassure ourselves about dropping to Germany? Considering the US has swapped spots with Germany before, it’s not that big a deal. Now if they drop to #3, let’s talk.