Today saw the release of the latest FIFA world rankings and whilst some may argue that the list does not give a true reflection of a country’s standing in world football, there was a major surprise and some wonderful news in store for a nation aiming to qualify for its first major tournament since 1958.
ARGENTINA STILL TOP OF THE TREE
Argentina remains FIFA top dogs after the latest list was released earlier today. The Albiceleste have occupied the top spot since July having not previously been in pole position since 2008. Belgium stays in second place followed by Germany, Colombia and Brazil who make up the top five positions. These are followed by Portugal, Romania and Chile, who move up two places after their home Copa America success in the summer.
WELSH DRAGON ROARS
With England falling two places to tenth position and Wales remaining in ninth it means for the first time since the rankings began, they are higher in the classification than their more illustrious neighbours. As coach Chris Coleman prepares his side for the upcoming European Championship qualifiers, Wales know that if they win in Cyprus on Thursday night and do the same at home to Israel on Sunday they will appear at a major tournament for the first time since the World Cup Finals in Sweden in 1958. Would any football betting prediction ever have had Wales to head England in the world rankings and to qualify for a major tournament before them?
SPAIN, HOLLAND & ITALY OUTSIDE OF THE ELITE GROUP
In and out of the top spot over the past seven years, Spain remains way back in 11th place as coach Vicente Del Bosque tries to rebuild his once all-conquering team. The best betting websites could never have envisaged the World Cup and double European Championship winners having such a dramatic fall from grace. In August 2011, Holland reached number one for the first time in the country’s history, in the latest rankings however, they remain in 12th position. Austria move up one place to 13th swapping places with Croatia who sit 14th. Then comes Slovakia followed by the World Cup winners of 2006 and European Championship runners-up in 2012, Italy. Switzerland comes next with Uruguay, Algeria (the highest placed African country) and the Czech Republic making up the top 20.Incredibly, France are 24th, the USA sit four further back in 28th.
TOP 20 IN FULL:
20) Czech Rebublic
By Steve Mitchell (@barafundler)