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U.S. Men's National Team

USMNT rise to No. 19 in latest FIFA Rankings

starting eleven

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By DAN KARELL

Who says the Gold Cup isn’t an important tournament.

The U.S. Men’s National Team used an undefeated run to the Gold Cup title last month to jump up three spots in the latest FIFA Rankings, placing them at No. 19, one position above Mexico. The USMNT were the only team to jump into the top 20, replacing Peru in 19th place.

Due to not playing any competitive matches in the time span, the top five of Spain, Germany, Colombia, Argentina, and the Netherlands, in that order, has stayed level. The biggest drop in the top 20 saw Ivory Coast drop five places to No. 18, just in front of the U.S.

Within CONCACAF, the USMNT is now the highest rated team, followed by Mexico, Panama (No. 40), Costa Rica (No. 42) and Honduras (No. 43).

What do you think of this news? Do you agree with the U.S.’s overall ranking? Do you see any team’s moving in the next month’s rankings?

Share your thoughts below.

69 comments
  • Annelid Gustator

    Bottom half of the top 32 or so is right. No reason to think we’re in the top 16. Little reason to think we’re not in the top 32.

    Like

    • Dikranovich

      Gustavo, get real, the USA has hardly fielded its best eleven yet under coach klinsmann. This team is scratching the top ten at a minimum. Greece is eleven and they can’t score a goal at home against Bosnia who happens to be 13. What, USA is going to do worse when Donovan, deuce, and Jozy are all on the pitch together? Blogger please!!!

      Like

  • Kosh

    These rankings don’t mean jack (except for the supposed WC seeding?)…but it is always a really good feeling to see the USMNT ahead of El Tri on any list/table possible. I really do hope this helps us get a decent draw in Brazil.

    Like

    • Lost in Space

      Only way this helps the draw is if we get up into the top 8 in the world. Don’t see that happening with how few games we have remaining, and how far back we are.
      Just have to be satisfied with the fact that El Tri is behind us again.

      Like

      • Max

        And even when we were 6th in the world in 2006 (which was rediculous) still got the group of death.

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      • Marcus

        Not to nitpick to much, but we were 9th by the time the 2006 World Cup rolled around, so we weren’t seeded.

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      • Big Chil

        The draw took place the December prior to the WC. The November rankings were used, and we were 6th at that time with Italy being outside the Top 8. FIFA then decided to use a “formula” that took into account recent WC performances. The result? Italy moved into a seed, USA moved out.

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      • Edwin in LA

        Yeah but the draw took place when the US was either 6th or 5th

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      • Rory

        Not to nitpick… but they use a formula still, right? Maybe always, but they sometimes tweek the formula, some World Cups it includes world rankings and last world cup performance, some world cups it includes world rankings and last TWO world cup performances.

        The biggest problem the US has is that we never put in two good World Cup performances in a row. We need to break the “good cup, bad cup” pattern this time!

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      • Paul

        Doesn’t matter if we weren’t seeded as Big Chill stated: “The November rankings were used, and we were 6th at that time with Italy being outside the Top 8. FIFA then decided to use a “formula” that took into account recent WC performances. The result? Italy moved into a seed, USA moved out.”

        The whole point of these comments is we were/will be seeded.

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      • Chuck

        Let’s not overlook the fact that we:

        1.) Do not deserve a seed, and
        2.) Without a doubt NOT one of the seven best teams in the world.

        If we were, I’m sure everyone would conclude the FIFA ratings are a joke. Everyone concluded this leading up to the 2006 World Cup, and then FIFA revamped the way they rated teams.

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      • Chuck

        I’m sorry Alf, but no. Not in 6 months. Not in 6 years, unless we make the QFs or better in WC2014-Brazil and in WC2018-Russia.

        Then, and only maybe then, we can make a legitimate case we’ve earned it. But by then it might be better to be in the #2 pot and get in Qatar’s group in WC2022.

        Like

      • the unmistakeable Ronaldinho

        Yeah this whole debate is puzzling. We don’t belong anywhere near the seeded teams. We are not that good. FIFA rankings are obviously not the most accurate system, but the seeded teams are generally hard to argue with.

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    • Marcus

      Unfortunately, I’ll only help in the WC draw if we’re in the top 7 of WC-qualified teams, which will get us into Pot 1 (obviously, it’s the top 7 because the 8th team will be Brazil, who get automatically placed into Pot 1).

      Other than that, the Pots are broken down by region…

      Like

    • MidWest Ref

      Sunil G. – FIFA Ex Co member – said after the Gold Cup final that he didn’t forsee anyway a CONCACAF team (i.e. US or Mex) could get a seed at Brazil 2014.

      Like

    • bottlcaps

      Actually it helps the US. When the draw takes place for the World Cup groups, an often unnamed vital seeding takes place that is often overlooked. That is: “Where to they place the unseeded team?”. FIFA tries to avoid placing teams from the same federation into the same groups. The exception, of course is Europe (or UEFA) who simply have too many teams. A solution to this policy is to place Concacaf in the same draw bowl. This way no Concacaf, CAF, Asia or Comebol team plays each other in the group stage. But Concacaf has only 3 or maybe four teams ot of a bowl of eight. So FIFA adds to the same bowl other confederation. If we are place in the same bowl as South America, we do not play any SA teams in Group play. The same if we are placed in the dame bowl with CAF. Now the system isn’t foolproof. UEFA teams are place according to ranking in different Bowl and some confederations will have to be mixed into other bowls so there are chances of one confederation team playin another especially if the team is seeded.

      But the bowls are oftern grouped according to a combo rankings of each confederation. So if the US moves up and the other teams in the confederation move up or do not moved down considerably, the CONCAF standings might make a difference in the bowl seedings. and will determine who we play in the Worls CUP group stage.

      We play well against South American teams and not as good against African Teams, so a good draw for US would be to have ConCacaf placed in the same bowl with CAF.

      This may be thought to some as nitpicking, but if you are to win the Group stage and get a lower seed in the round of 16 and quarters, every little thing helps.

      In the last World Cup we WON the group stage and had Ghana and possibly Uruguay ahead of us to the semi’s. Both these teams we had a better chance of beating than England which finished second in the group and had to face Germany and possible Argentina on the way to the semi’s.

      So seeding are important, even if it’s not for the 8 group seeds, the confederation seeds are important too.

      So: Good confederation seed + Good bowl groups = Good group selection.

      Good group selection + winning group = easier path to semi’s

      Like

      • Gary Page

        Thanks for the information; I wasn’t aware of the group seedings. However, in Brazil I think we will be better off playing European teams or CAF instead of South American teams as they will have a lot of fan support.. Best would be if we have an Asian team in the group and a secondary European team, IMO.

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      • bottlcaps

        We have beaten at least once, ALL of the SA teams (that includes Brazil AND Argentina) We have never beaten some CAF teams (played few games though) In Brazil facing a lower seeded SA team will be problematic as those SA teams will have many of their supporters present as its easier to get to brazil from lets say, Chile, that to Europe.

        A good group for the US would be to have a lower ranked Euro team, a lower ranked SA team as the seeded team(columbia?) and an Asian team.

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      • Mr_A

        Thanks! That made sense. Since FIFA never appears to make sense at all, it was nice to have it explained. Thanks!

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      • Mike Santoro

        There are 8 teams to a pot. CONCACAF gets 3-4 (likely 4 as NZ is bad). SA gets 5-6. With Brazil and Argentina guarenteed to be seeded, and likely Colombia there isnt a match. The likely scenario is the 4 CONCACAF teams get put in the same pot as the 4 AFC teams (assuming Asia 5th place loses to a South American team). That puts the 5 AFC teams in a pot with the rest of SA. It actually will probably help USA’s draw for NZ to beat Hodnuras/CR/Mexico, as then we’ll be potted with Afric. However that will hurt CONCACAF in the future in their claims for more bids

        Like

  • Lost in Space

    While I don’t put much weight on these Rankings….It is nice to be back in front of Mexico.
    The USMNT is currently on a good run of form, which I hope continues next month during qualifiers. A win in CR and C-bus secures our top spot in CONCACAF, and gives JK and staff 2 matches to play and tinker with fringe players and/or line-ups.

    Like

      • Travis in Miami

        Until the US actually beats Ghana (at any level) this is a reason not to pay attention to the rankings.

        Like

  • William the Terror

    It’s cool that 6 teams in CONCACAF are in the top 50 (top 43 actually).

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    • Beto

      Indeed, if our neighbors played in more high profile friendlies and won, like we have done @italy, vs Germany, @Mexico, etc then all of our ratings, as a fed, would be higher… Another reason why the Copa Americas Giante would be awesome!

      Not that it matters…

      Like

      • David M

        One of our neighbors, Honduras, played Israel a couple of months ago in NYC and lost 0:2. Honduras is ranked 43, Israel — 63.

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      • nic d "the tx 2 stepper"

        But Israel was playing a Home Game … ba – da – tshhhhh!

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    • TheFrenchOne

      yeah, i think that’s the biggest takeaway from these rankings. Concacaf is improving across the board.

      Like

  • MidWest Ref

    I must be going crazy because these rankings actually don’t seem to be too bad.

    There are a few outliers: Is Colombia really that good right now? What about the ex-Yugoslavia nations of Croatia and Bosnia? Good to see England who hasn’t won anything since 1966 out of the top 10.

    I also didn’t notice any Asian Confederation teams in the top 30. That seems to be a bit unfair for Japan or South Korea.

    Like

    • Bob

      Columbia is a fantastic team at the moment. I can see them going toe-to-toe with anyone in the world at the moment. Bosnia’s right where they should be-they’ve been remarkably consistent in qualifying. Croatia made be a tad overrated, maybe in the Bosnia range.

      Like

  • Old School

    Rankings don’t mean anything even when people say they mean something.

    England was ranked what going into last World Cup? Ah, right…they finished below us in the group. Get to the World Cup, handle your business and the rest will take care of itself.

    Rankings are irrelevant. Period.

    Like

    • Hunt Daddy

      I get what you’re saying, but that doesn’t strictly apply to everyone. Rankings ultimately determine group matchups, so they really do matter for countries lacking in true international pedigree. Last time around USA did well to tie England, but struggled to advance out of a group that included tiny Slovenia and Algeria.

      Regardless, you still have to show up and put in a good performance. But that’s much easier to do with a favorable draw.

      Like

      • JD in FL

        “…struggled to advance out of a group that included tiny Slovenia and Algeria.” Can we really speak of the US performance in the Group stage without recognizing the two goals that were disallowed?

        In a game where scoring is so low, one’s success depends as much upon your quality, as the fairness of the officiating.

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      • Mr_A

        As a matter of fact, we pretty much have to depend on quality to carry us over officiating. I think that’s why JK has been so pleased with the blowout scores; he knows we’ll have to overpower teams convincingly, not just beat them.

        Like

      • the unmistakeable Ronaldinho

        Rankings only help determine the seeded teams. The other 24 nations are separated by confederation( ie to keep US, Mexico and Honduras/CR in different groups.) We are a long way from being seeded so they really don’t make any difference to us.

        Like

  • Quit whining about soccer in the US

    Wow, even a blind pig ( and corrupt too ) finds acorns. Friendly against Bosnia and winning CONCACAF Hex could really help the seeding next year.

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    • Big Chil

      There’s a ranking tool on FIFA.com you can play around with. 3 wins in August & September would move us up to 1043 points, which would move us up to 11. Typically ~1000 points is knocking on the door for the Top 10.

      Like

      • away goals

        Just curious but is that a-ssuming all other teams in the world remain at their present totals?

        Or will the teams ahead of us maintain the gaps a-ssuming they earn favorable results as well?

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  • Ulysses

    I want us to be number #1, but that will never happen in my lifetime. I rather be #40 and make it to the World Cup Quarter-Finals. First, we have to beat Ghana.

    Like

  • Rex

    The rankings now are actually a pretty good metric. I think the confederation weights are unnecessary and hurt teams like USA and Mexico, but overall i think its fair and consistent.

    Like

    • Todd Marsch

      Yeah, I agree on both points. They seem to have come up with a formula that yields a pretty good indication of teams’ places in the international hierarchy. The confederation weights seem redundant if they’re already factoring in the opponent’s overall ranking. I think this is the main flaw left, since it artificially elevates some mediocre Euro or South American teams (e.g. Switzerland and Greece).

      Like

      • the unmistakeable Ronaldinho

        Only way to fix it is to have human polls that are a part of the process like the BCS. Computers are completely objective when a bit of subjectivity is needed in the rankings.

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  • David M

    If you go to the FIFA site, you’ll see right away the main problem with the system.

    USA got exactly ranking 0 points for losing to Brazil in that great Confederations Cup final game in 2011. But barely beating Honduras at home 2:1, earned the US 1051.88 points.

    Like

  • Phil B

    In these rankings, any team ranked from 10-40 could, arguably, beat any other team in that range on any given day. The US at 19 seems fair, but we could easily be near the 30 mark (again) and I wouldn’t have too much of a problem with that.

    Like

  • Kev

    Wow, Brazil is ranked # 9 ?
    Yikes, that says something right there. But I agree, when I saw that we were 19, I think this is pretty accurate.

    Bosnia is # 13 right now. Looking forward to that test. I think we should be playing teams that are ranked between 10-20 more often. I honestly would like to see us playing more friendlies against african teams more. As of now, our preparation for african teams is limited and I think has hurt us (Ghana, ugh!!).

    I know we always want to be tested by the big boys, but often times is those others that are not ranked but still strong that get us. Like, a Bosnia

    Past World Cups, we seem to get all hyped for the top ranked team in the group – ie: England, Italy, Portugal – but fall short on games when we are expected a better result.

    Like

    • Northzax

      Brazil is lucky to be that high right now, they’ll continue to drop through December. Why? They’re the hosts, so they have no meaningful games right now.

      Like

  • John Valencia

    Do not worry about the Draw if we want to play at the World Level we need to take what they give us and WIN!!! Go USMNT and grow Futbol / Soccer in the US!!!!

    Like

  • Ben James

    At this point, it’s a long shot, but we still have an outsider’s chance to become one of the seeded teams. A win in the Bosnia friendly and 2 wins in the September qualifiers would put as at 1043 points, which is currently good enough for the #11 seed. Factor in another friendly and wins in the October qualifiers and we could move up enough to be ranked top 7, which currently requires about 1100 points.

    Another factor is that some of the teams currently ranked in the top 8 may not qualify, which would make our job a bit easier. Portugal (7) and Croatia (8) will most likely have to go into the home-and-away round, where they could be eliminated, thus making it possible for the US to qualify for a seed from a ranking just outside of the top 7.

    Like I said, the likelihood is very low, as we would first need to extend our win streak to 17, but it does at least seem possible. FIFA could always adjust the formula again, but it seems like it would be difficult for them to ignore a 17-game win streak if their objective was to knock the US from a seeded position.

    Like

  • The Other Jeff

    For once, US ranking is consistent across all the systems:
    FIFA: 18
    Elo (as of July 19 so probably higher now): 20 (though so close to Mexico and Belgium as to basically be a 3-way tie for 18)
    SPI: 20
    These are all calculated in very different ways.

    When these rankings all agree like this, it means progress is real not an artifact of the rating system. Even if it means little else.

    Like

  • Dave80

    Interesting that there is a big gap in the FIFA ranking between the Nats and El Tri. Add the difference between those two ranking scores to the US score and they’re up to 11th in the table. That tells me, if the ranking means anything much, that they’re right definitely in the mix in the 10-20 range. Bosnia will be an interesting test. Was the Germany game a fluke or can the Nats keep it up?

    Like

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