The United States are still considered one of the better teams in the world. The USMNT sit 23rd in the October FIFA World Rankings that were released today, down one spot from September. There’s a new number one, as Belgium broke the tie it held with France in September to claim the top spot for themselves.
In CONCACAF, Mexico is still the highest-rated team at #16 (down 1 from last month), but the USMNT’s #23 ranking is good enough for second in the region. Costa Rica (#37), Jamaica (#53), and Honduras (#62) all held their spots from September.
For the USMNT, there may be talk about its play as it has held a 1-2-1 record over the past 4 months. However, those results have come against Mexico (win), Brazil and Colombia (losses), and Peru (draw), all teams that sit above them in the World Rankings. With the new ELO-style rankings format that took effect in August, the teams you play matter more and whether it’s a friendly or a competitive match also matters. The stronger the teams you play, the more points you can generate for a result.
With the new rankings format, the USMNT had been at 22nd in August and September before dropping one spot this month. They were 25th in June, the last rankings under the old FIFA format. The old format probably would not have weighed their results against Mexico and Peru as heavily as the new format does, which rewards teams for earning results against teams ranked higher.
Still, it does it in a format that doesn’t cause huge fluctuations within the rankings. The best mover this month was Gibraltar, which moved up 9 spots to #190. The worst mover was Mozambique, which dropped 8 spots to #122. In June, the last rankings that used the old FIFA format, the biggest movers were Azerbaijan (+21 spots to #105) and Guyana (-18 spots to #182). This matters to the United States because with 2 matches left in their Kickoff Series, against #5 England and #19 Italy next month, they have a chance to get some positive results on the road and move up slowly but surely in the rankings. And, despite so much negativity among the USMNT fanbase about the direction of the team, the coaching situation, and whether some veterans should have a place in the player pool moving forward, the rankings show that compared with the rest of the world, we are still considered one of the better teams not just in CONCACAF, but also the world.
What are your thoughts on the latest FIFA rankings?