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U.S. Men's National Team

USMNT remain at No. 14 in final FIFA Rankings of 2013

USA team group

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By DAN KARELL

With few games since the final FIFA international dates of the year, there was very little movement in the last FIFA Rankings of 2013.

The U.S. Men’s National Team remained at No. 14 in the December FIFA Rankings, keeping them as the highest-placed CONCACAF nation and a place behind England and ahead of Chile. Though there was no movement within the top 10 sides, Bosnia and Herzegovina moved up to No. 19 while France (No. 20) and Mexico (No. 21) dropped one spot each.

Rounding out the top five in CONCACAF are Costa Rica (No. 31), Panama (No. 38), and Honduras (No. 42). The biggest movers in the latest rankings are Iran, which jumped 12 places past Japan be the highest-ranked Asian nation at No. 33. The top five in the world remain Spain, Germany, Argentina, Colombia, and Portugal, in order.

The USMNT improved 14 spots from its final ranking in December 2012.

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What do you think of these rankings? Agree with the USMNT’s overall ranking? Glad to see the U.S. improve 14 places from this time a year ago?

Share your thoughts below.

43 comments
      • Joamiq

        The US was 4th heading into WC06. The rankings were even more derided then than they are now.

        Like

    • slowleftarm

      Unless they change the way they’re calculated, FIFA rankings will always be worthless but as long as they’re used for seeding they can’t be ignored.

      Like

      • Creige

        FIFA rankings you get more pts for beating Moldova then Mexico so they in no way favor the USA or CONCACAF teams.

        Like

    • FK PiRIN

      Doesn’t matter if they are used for seeding because FIFA will just change the rules, so that they can seed the teams they want. When US got to #4 in the World before the 2006 World Cup, FIFA changed the rules so that US would not be a seeded team for the 2006 World Cup. Then they made changes to the formula, so that CONCACAF, CAF, AFC, and OFC could not get too highly ranked based on strength of region overall. The only way we can get seeded is if we start beating European teams consistently in Europe, and then they have to eventually change the formula so that we can get back in the top ten again.

      Like

      • AcidBurn

        But, those wins over European teams will be friendlies, so they are worth less in the FIFA formula.

        Unless the US secedes from CONCACAF and goes through Euro WC qualifiers, tough for them to move much higher then they are right now.

        Two examples of why FIFA seeding stinks:
        1) Netherlands lost a seed in the WC because they played and hammered Indonesia in a friendly. If NED had just sat home and played tiddly winks, they would be seeded, maybe in that juicy group E.
        2) Switzerland moved up 7 spots by beating Albania and Moldova in WC qualifiers. Yeah, that merits moving into the top 8 in the world.

        Like

      • SilverRey

        Don’t forget that the score adds on points for recent victories in the last month – but – also removes points from the same month 4 years ago. So when the Netherlands played Indonesia, it may have been a case of them simply losing more points than they gained because they played a big point gaining game 4 years ago.

        sorry, those sentences were way too long….

        Like

  • blokhin

    this ranking clearly demonstrates support for the narrative I had already constructed ahead of time

    Like

  • Doug Bartow

    2 teams that had to win home and away playoffs just to qualify for WC2014 are at numbers 5 and 6.

    Like

    • AcidBurn

      They had two extra WC qualifiers against European competition – big FIFA ranking points, while the teams ahead of them were idle or playing point-losing friendlies.

      That is why they rocketed up the ranking.

      Like

  • Commenter

    At one point the U.S. was ranked as high as fourth in the world. FIFA rankings aren’t always a fair reflection of a team’s talent, granted the U.S. was a solid side heading into World Cup 2006. When we’re able to compete and win against top ten nations regularly then we can truly be considered an elite national team. Any team can win on any given day regardless of their ranking, while it is indeed important for World Cup seeding, people shouldn’t put too much stock in them.

    Like

  • Nate Dollars

    don’t know if you’ll see this, GW, but a response to your questions from yesterday: http://www.soccerbyives.net/2013/12/klinsmann-discussions-international.html#comment-1345177

    both of your questions are a bit disingenuous, but i’ll give it a shot:

    with beasley at left back, our record is 3-2-3 in games played against world cup-level competition. with beasley at left back, the only team we’ve actually beaten outside concacaf is germany’s b team (when beasley was subbed off halfway through for castillo).

    W1-0 v costa rica
    D0-0 v mexico
    L4-2 v belgium
    W4-3 v germany
    L3-1 v costa rica
    W2-0 v mexico
    D0-0 v scotland
    L1-0 v austria

    so it’s not too hard to argue that yes, the US has played badly when beasley is the left back.

    Like

    • Joamiq

      What’s wrong with 3-2-3 against World Cup level competition? If we won at that rate at the actual World Cup, our results would be much better.

      Like

      • Nate Dollars

        which is why i clarified that, out of those “world cup-level” teams, we aren’t likely to play any of the teams we beat (mexico, costa rica, germany’s b-team) with beasley at left back.

        Like

  • biff

    I can understand some people being all nervous about Germany and Portugal at WC 2014 (although I think Germany will never get close to reaching its huge potential and will not make it out of the Group G as long as the overrated Jogi Low is coach). What I do not understand are the people who talk as if Ghana is in the same class as Germany and Portugal. Ghana is ranked 24th and is clearly a much lesser team than the USMNT and should be a win and an automatic 3 points for the USMNT.

    And I do think the USMNT is going to beat Germany in either of two scenarios. 1) Germany goes into the last game with 3 or fewer points in a must-win situation to make it out of group which these guys are not used tp and they will buckle under the pressure. 2) Germany goes in with six points (meaning my prediction of Germany’s demise is wrong) and does not need a win in the third and final game against the USMNT, and possibly might even prefer a loss to end up in second place, depending on how the brackets shape up. In ancy case, Jogi might not feel to bad if his buddy Jurgen gets the win to move out of Group G and Portugal is left behind so might give his players a rest and bring on the B team, like he did last May.

    Like

    • Commenter

      Ghana is one of the strongest African sides in this World Cup (the other being Nigeria). They haven’t beaten us the last two times we’ve met in the World Cup as well. I wouldn’t overlook them, or anyone else for that matter. While I think we have the chemistry and talent to win the next meeting, we’re still going to have to play a disciplined and organized game to beat them. Even though Loew and Klinnsmann are friends I doubt he lets him off the hook with the stakes so high, especially with the talent/expectations Germany has.

      Like

      • AcidBurn

        People see Gyan, Essien and Muntari and get weak in the knees. Did you see that 6-1 hammering of Egypt?

        Guess we should just give up now.

        Like

      • Commenter

        No one is implying that “we should give up now”, it is important not to to become overconfident, complacent and to overlook your competition. The U.S. should learn from previous encounters and make the appropriate improvements.

        Like

      • biff

        I agree, Commenter, the boys have to take the game seriously against Ghana and give all. But all this sky-is-falling-concern about Ghana is very much exaggerated and I don’t see them getting the third win in a row. And as for the 6-1 beating of Egypt, I read some of the boards in English from Egypt fans and they were not happy with Bob Bradley’s strategy or roster for that game, both of which BB changed for the second game. I think the USMNT will be read and flying high for this one.

        Like

      • FulhamDC

        Agree with Beachbum. Portugal is pretty good, but they’re not scaring anyone, and they certainly aren’t the 5th best team in the world.

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      • Joamiq

        Portugal can be rendered inert if you can choke off supply to Ronaldo, but that’s not easy. People always say Portugal is a one man team, but they’re forgetting about a little guy called Joao Moutinho. Stopping him is the key, as that makes things much harder for Ronaldo. But that’s much easier said than done.

        Like

    • Dennis

      If Germany gets 6 points from the first 2 games, I expect they will rest some players due to concerns with the heat or to recover from minor injuries. That might not help the US much since the German replacements will have something to proof and will not represent an easy game for the US who likely will still need at least a draw and will be using the same players who already played 2 games in the heat and travelled a lot.

      Egypt did beat Ghana 2-1 in their last meeting, despite the earlier thrashing, so Ghana is not un-winable (just recent history is not on the USA’s side, but that is why they play the games).

      Portugal has Ronaldo and he can be difficult to contain and has a solid supporting cast. He also can get frustrated and his frustration can infect his team. Again we won’t know how that will go until the game is played.

      Like

      • biff

        First, I truly think Portugal will be our toughest opponent, assuming Ronaldo is playing and the ref is not a joke.

        As for USMNT vs. Germany, if you look at the bracket, I think a key to how hard Germany plays agaist Jurgen will be final Group F (with Argentina) standings and to a much lesser extent Group E (with France). If Argentina wins Group F, then it would be a potential quarter-final opponent for the Group G second place team. but if Argentina would end up second, it would move to the other side of the bracket and potentially face the winner of Group G in the quarter-finals. And when the USMNT and Germany meet, the final standings and bracket placement will be carbed in stone for Groups E and F. I can imagine that Germany wants to avoid Argentina in the quarter-finals at all costs–if possible.

        http://www.fifa.com/worldcup/matches/kostage.html

        Like

    • Brain Guy

      Ghana provides the perfect test of the team’s progress under JK. While we can’t control for the passage of time (and the resulting roster changes), this is a pretty good “experiment” — same opponent, same competition, but a different coach from the last two WCs. It’s precisely the kind of side the US should, and must, beat if it wants to show some significant improvement.

      Like

    • Joamiq

      If that’s what you think of Ghana, then you haven’t watched them play at all. They have multiple players that are much more highly regarded than anyone the US has, and more to the point, their attack as a team is deadly. Lightning fast with pinpoint passing and finishing precision. They are weak in defense, but their attack can score on anyone in the world. If our defense lets in fewer than three goals against them it’ll be a minor miracle. We can beat them, but automatic three points? Hardly. We’re the underdogs in that game, if not by a whole lot.

      Like

  • Brain Guy

    It would probably save time and space if we just had a separate site we could all visit called “Standard Comments on Flaws, Meaninglessness, Yet Undeniable But Regrettable Importance of FIFA Rankings.”

    Like

      • Brain Guy

        FIFA rankings are to the World Cup as SAT scores are to college admissions — flawed, imprecise, maybe unfair, but inescapable.

        Like

  • Annelid Gustator

    Well, I’d still judge the US to be in the middle 10 teams or so that are qualified for the WCF. And don’t believe any of the non-qual teams would displace us. So, between 11-22 is fair enough, with lots of space for movement in that region. Probably in the lower part of that tier.

    Like

  • DCLee

    Interesting that Iran has bumped Japan as the top Asian side. Pretty cool that they are looking at possibly including Beitashour on their world cup roster! Shows how far MLS continues to come that one of the top teams in Asia are looking at adding MLS talent!

    Like

  • Travis

    All you need to do to know how big a joke FIFA rankings are is to look at Brazil’s current ranking. They are essentially being punished because they didn’t have to do qualifying as the host, they are back up to 10 now, a couple months ago I think they were close to 20. Laughable.

    Like

  • Wispy

    Jozy is inordinately smiley in that photo. Maybe he’s so happy because he finally got the rest of the front row to do his half-crouch thing.

    Like

  • AlexH

    Here is a fair way to seed. Base the seeds off the odds posted by the 5 largest sports books. It is totally in the monetary interests of the book makers to be as accurate as possible so there would be no flim-flam when it comes to seeding. I know that bookies aren’t most people’s idea of fine upstanding citizens BUT they are a hell of a lot more ethical than FIFA suits (especially when they have money on the line)

    Like

    • GJJ

      Brilliant. Never be adopted by Fifa, but perhaps some intelligent guy could put up a website boiling down an average of what the top bookies are saying. I like it a lot.

      Like

    • beto

      i like it! — actually a very fair system to do it!

      But FIFA will never allow that invitation corruption into the the game (HAHA! irony)

      Like

  • Brain Guy

    Howard and Bradley look like a pair of those toys where you push iron filings around with a magnet to give the guy hair. etc. Except that all the filings are on Howard’s face.

    Like

  • Joamiq

    The stupid way FIFA does rankings, and the importance of the rankings, really highlights the importance of the Confed Cup, and therefore the Gold Cup. Winning the Gold Cup and getting into the Confed Cup, and therefore having a shot to win games with those high multipliers, can really boost a team’s ranking.

    Like

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