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USA moves up to 12th in FIFA rankings, Brazil takes top spot from Spain

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The U.S. men's national team's run to the Confederations Cup final has helped boost it into uncharted territory in the world rankings.

The United States moved up to 12th in the latest FIFA rankings, the highest spot for the Americans since FIFA revamped its ranking formula after the 2006 World Cup. The Americans moved up two spots from 14. If you think the jump was small considering the victory against Spain you must also remember that the United States lost three matches and won two at the Confederations Cup, thus limiting the number of points the USA accumulated for the month of June.

Brazil replaced Spain atop the rankings after winning the Confederations Cup and, as expected, Mexico plummeted seven spots to 33rd, Mexico's lowest-ever ranking since FIFA began publishing world rankings in 2002. Mexico fell behind Costa Rica, the current group leaders in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying,  which moved up 11 spots to 30th place.

Here are some of the other big movers and shakers in the latest FIFA rankings:

Ivory Coast had the biggest jump, moving up 20 spots to 18th. Australia climbed 13 spots to 16th.

Turkey was the biggest loser, falling 16 spots to 28th. Portugal fell six places to 17th and Sweden slid 11 spots to 42nd.

You can see the full world rankings at the FIFA website.

What do you think of the United States moving up to 12th? Think Brazil deserves the top spot now? Enjoy seeing Costa Rica move past Mexico? Do you actually believe the Americans deserve such a high ranking now? Think they should be even higher?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. quakes on the top 10 euro teams-> I agree with the others. some of those teams are a little questionable for 10 consistent wins over the US team. as for spain… obviously we couldnt consistently beat spain, but thats also why they are in the top 3. A team and B teams ….ive been seeing people say brazil used a b team for confed cup. if u think kaka and some of the other brazilians are b team, then whatever. still doesnt mean that US soccer isnt improving and every ranking system has glitches including previous and the current. is US soccer in the top 20??? I think so, so the ranking is close enough. The rest has to be demonstrated on the field, and the world cup.

  2. I disagree with the FIFA Ranking
    how does a team lose or gain points
    Before the Confederations Cup the US was 22nd, they lost 3 games, yet didn’t lose points, while Mexico didn’t play after Copa America 2007 for 2 months and somehow lost points and slots.Mexico is also ranked below Uruguay,Costa Rica,Gabon,Australia,Paraguay, Cote d’Ivory,and Chile all these teams Mexico has beaten and has only lost to Chile once.

  3. I would just like to see some of those European teams playing outside of Europe. The ranking system does not consider home/away/neutral site games, and European countries earn less points for playing against anyone but CONMEBOL due to the confederation “quotient.” The US gets one European country visiting a year, and it’s always a Scandinavian country sending their B team while their league takes the winter off. But I, for one, would like to see European countries playing more matches in Africa, Asia, or the Americas. (Note: Italy’s 2 losses, Spain’s loss and 2 close calls to South Africa).

    Are we the 12th most talented team? No. But are we the 12th best team based on results? I would say so (and also, mind you that our ranking will plummet unless we win every Gold Cup match). At home, I would take our chances except against a few teams like Spain, Brazil, and England. That’s about it. On the road, we would be an underdog in most European countries. And at a neutral site, such as South Africa, the US can perform away from home.

    And there is NO SHOT at the US being seeded in next year’s World Cup. We could win every game from now until then by 10-0, and we would not be seeded. The seeding formula that FIFA uses will heavily weight the 2006 WC performance and the 06/07 rankings, both of which were not good. Right now, the US would get 13.7 pts from the WC and 15.3 pts from their rankings for a total of 29 pts. Even if the US finished #1 by Nov 09 (maybe they can hit top 8-9), they would only have 32.7 pts. In 2006, the cutoff for the top 7 was 44.3 pts. In general, the quick and dirty formula for a top seed is to at least have a top 10 ranking every year, and at least make the 2nd round in both previous World Cups. It also appears likely that Mexico will not be seeded even if they do qualify.

  4. We have zero NIL chance at being one of the seven top seeds. There are only 7.
    South Africa (by hosting) gets one of them. The rest of the teams are placed into regions and drawn out (we won’t be paired with Mexico or any other CONCACAF team in the group phase).
    Against the top 10 ten teams in the world, we’d win 1 in 10 games against them…that’s it.

  5. Gabe…CHILL!
    I don’t know of a single Mexican player, or fan, that doesn’t recognize the huge strides US has made in soccer in the last ten years! It’s obvious you don’t check Mexico soccer forums, because you would find out that 99.9 percent of those who post, agree, that at this point in time the USMT is in a much cozier place than the MNT, and that everyone there is in a state of anarchy! I don’t take any of it too seriously!
    And even though I don’t know where you get ypur “information”, to say ‘… It’s a history of victory, over and over again. Yes, we have not won in Azteca.’…etc. is ignoring that the US is 14-29-10 against Mexico, and that we’ve never beaten Mexico ANYWHERE in Mexico, not just in Azteca. We have also played them in Puebla, Toluca and Monterrey!
    So let’s take away the 46 year stretch in which they mopped the floor with us, and let Brazil forget when they used to mop the floor with them, and Germany when they used to do it to England etc.
    Hugo Sanchez alone tested more than 100 players for the MNT, do you remember any of them, let alone who talked smack about us?

  6. Rudy–I’d have to agree that there’s no way the US is the 12th most talented team in the world, but I don’t think the ranking is undeserved based on results. Their ability to outperform their talent is a big reason why the US are fun to root for.

  7. P.S.–if anyone’s curious as to why the Elo system is a pretty decent objective rating system see (esp. under “mathematical theory”) (in short, while the footy version does depend on different weightings for different tournaments, it doesn’t arbitrarily assign points to different achievements (like the FIFA rankings), but uses head-to-head results and plausible statistical assumptions to estimate the relative strengths of teams).

  8. Also, look at this way. How many U.S. players are on consistent Champions League contenders compared to Denmark, Sweden, and a few of the other countries people have said we’d have no problem with?

  9. When we last played Sweden with both sides at near full strength we lost. (1-0) Klestjan had a hat trick in our last victory, that sure translates well doesn’t it? Denmark’s full side would be pretty tough for the US to beat consistently as well. Realistically we’re probably in the 20’s.

  10. There actually is a decent objective rating system out there, modeled on International Chess Ratings.

    Short story is: every team starts with the same rating, and their current rating is based on the cumulative results since 1900 (with recent matches being weighted much more heavily, of course). The U.S. currently comes out 11th in this system, with virtually nothing separating the (Scroll to bottom for current rankings) (explanation of the system)

  11. Mexico is in a weird place right now! On the one hand they played one of the best games I’ve seen from them in a long time in a friendly against FIFA’s #55 Venezuela. A week later (with an alternate team, a C team?) they where embarrassing vs. #109 Guatemala!
    They haven’t played against the world’s elite in a while! The gold Cup will be very important for them… and of course the US game at Azteca!!!

  12. Quakes fan, we beat Sweden every time we play them. How can you possibly say they are better than us? And GREECE? Really? GREECE?!

    I’m sorry. That’s just ridiculous. I agree with the rest of them, but Greece and Sweden, no way. Same thing for the moron who suggested Hungary, N. Ireland, and Denmark. Didn’t we just beat Denmark 3-1 at home and then 1-0 away?

    I’d say we’re around 17, but Sweden and these other teams are not around that area. They are in the 20s, with Mexico (but not anymore! =) ).

  13. We did clean sheet Spain, then #1 now #2, 2-0 and hold a 2 goal lead over the now #1 in the final…

    but there are better teams ranked below us and that is just a fact. I can’t put too much weight into this, but I am excited about where it means we are in the eyes of the governing body of international football. In particular how it will affect future World Cup bids and our chances at being seeded in them.

  14. only teams in the world that could outclass the USA are

    Spain, Brazil, Argentina, Germany, Italy, France, England, Paraguay, Colombia, Portugal, Croatia, Holland

    Teams that could play us and we have a 50/50 chance of a win

    Denmark, Sweden, Japan, Australia, South Korea, North Korea, Russia, Greece, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Romania, Mexico

    Teams we would just dominate

    Norway, Finland, Switzerland, Poland, Thailand

    We are a TOP 20 team. It would take decades to be top5, but we’re progressing considering soccer is still a minority in the USA when compared to basketball, baseball, football.

  15. Well, the very fact that FIFA considers performance in the past 3 WC’s shows what an absolute joke the seeding system is. They’re going back 12 years, considering the play of footballers that likely are no longer even in their respective nation’s national team rotation. Go back to 1998 and look at the LARGE number of guys that are no longer playing for their national team. How in the hell can that have ANY bearing on the here and now?!

    As well, the U.S. got totally screwed in the 2006 WC draw. Mexico was given the seed, a team we had owned, not mention the fact that we were ranked higher at that time by FIFA, AND were the CONCACAF champions. Mexico got a cake walk to the second round, while we ended up with an unbelievably difficult group.

    We’ll just have to see what pans out, but I wouldn’t count on us getting a seed.

    As far as being ranked 12th, it’s probably not too far off base. I’d definitely say we’re a top 20 team. Some may think 12 is high, and it may be, but I think we would contend very well against other teams near us in the current rankings, such as Australia and Ivory Coast. Mexico being ranked 33rd is gracious…they’ve been consistently poor for the last year and a half.

  16. USA should be highest at say 16. But we’re definitely a top 20 team

    How is Switzerland ranked no13 and Ukraine 19th? That is hilarious. Swiss can’t play football.

  17. I’m not sure if I agree with all of the FIFA rankings. I do have a question though. Why is it that when every other nation’s fans express the same sentiments as US fans, it’s called national pride or patriotism? But the US fans do and are called arrogant and jingoistic? I don’t see the harm in allowing US fans to enjoy our moments. Afterall, they come so infrequently. It’s not like any of the players are acting in an arrogant way. Who cares what the fans say or do? It’s not like anything we do or say is going to affect the team. It’s just supporters, supporting their team. It’s what we do. Our team is always the best, just like your’s is always the best. I feel that most of the people that overly criticize the US are the “euro-snob” types that just criticize because it’s cooler to be a fan of Italy or Brazil. The same types of people that say “shite” and “arse” and “lads” or call themselves “hooligans”, even though they were born and raised in Ohio.

  18. Yes I think there are some extremely vocal arrogant Americans that ruin it for the rest of us abroad. I should have said that instead of over generalizing, please accept my apologies. (But not sorry if you have a guilty conscience.)

    No I don’t hate America. I think its positives outweigh the negatives. I guess you could infer that from what I said.

    Of course we could celebrate but my opinion is that it would be premature to start bragging and that bragging generally isn’t the sign of a worthy opponent.

    And yes I am not a huge fan of Landon off the pitch.

  19. I will tell you one thing: If I hear one more old, washed up mexican player talk about how much more skill and talent their “El Tri” mob has than the Americans I am going to vomit. Results don’t lie, and neither does the ball. Rule #1 in sports. Please, it’s not like the USA has a single win against Mexico like against Spain. It’s a history of victory, over and over again. Yes, we have not won in Azteca. I would put money on the US in a neutral location though, anyday. Let’s hope it’s SA2010…Maybe the mexicans will finally shut up

  20. WE DESERVE TO BE 12th… These rankings are not ranking who FIFA thinks is the 12th best team by comparing rosters, the ranking is based on each teams actual accomplishments and performances. And the US deserves to be 12th, based on not only its dominance over CONCACAF, but also its excellent performance in the Confed Cup…

    outside of the best 9 or so teams in the world, there is a second tier (which we are definitely in) of probably 15-20 teams that are very close in terms of quality. But out of that second tier, there are very few teams that have accomplished what we have recently. B/C of this our ranking is higher than most of these teams. I don’t really see any problems w/ it

  21. Hey Tommy…yeah I left off germany because the boss came in and almost busted me… I think Germany is better than the US obviously but they dont scare me the way that the Netherlands do or England does at this juncture.

  22. Lets take a look the #8 Seed in 2006 (Argentina) had 44.0 points

    Here is where the US lies currently

    02 WC = 22 points

    06 WC = 8 points (can’t remember where we ranked over all but I’d assume 8 points which is lowest)

    average points 15

    World Rankings

    DEC 07 = 19th = ~ 19 points

    DEC 08 = 22nd = ~ 17 points

    DEC 09 (lets be nice) = 10th = 23 points

    Average 19.7

    34.7 Points IS DEF Not goign to get seeded

  23. If I am not mistaken, the seedings are based on more than just the FIFA rankings. They also include the performance over the last three world cups. So I doubt the US will be seeded.

  24. So what are the chances of the US being a seeded team in the WC?

    Netherlands-already in
    Italy-should get thru
    Germany-same group as Russia
    Russia-same group as Germany
    Argentina-should be thru, not sure thing though
    France-looks like bound for playoff
    Croatia-looks like bound for playoff
    Greece-in a tight group, maybe playoff bound
    USA-should be thru

  25. lets not get all workout and lets not get over our head also. Is Fifa Ranking and most of the time they have all wrong. If FIFA think we should be on 12th place well let it be. As long we know that our team is doing good not well but good is all matters. I hope if we start playing elite teams for friendly games like we did last year with Spain, England, Argentina, & Brazil and maybe this year before the world Cup we can play against others elite team like someone mention above Germany, Portugal, Russia, Netherlands, France or Even Italy (again) that will help us and than give us and Idea where are we in the True Ranking that matter to US which is our Judgement.

  26. Let’s face it all rankings are a joke. If not neither the US or SA would have made it out of the opening round and Spain would have defeated Brazil (or Italy) in the final of the Con. cup. That is why the players actually have to play the game.

    Certainly the exact spot is meaningless. Furthermore, the best team does not always win, it is often simply the team that plays best on that day and that can change depending on so many variables like location, weather, field conditions, motivation, fatigue from past games, etc.

    That said, such rankings are fun to stimulate such a discussion as this. The outcome of games often more a question of tactics tempered by ability. There is no question Spain can attack and possess the ball better than the US, but the US showed they were able to defend well, pressure key players and counter-attack effectively. It is a tactic that almost worked against Brazil as well. It is a tactic that clearly was found wanting in the Italy game when a missing defender made a bit more space for the opponents.

  27. hahah. I love the US team, I’m just a little more realistic I think. I want the US team to do well and I want them to get better and win it all. I just don’t think the team is there yet. Winning a couple confed games does not help me to forget how terrible the US looked against El Salvador, Costa Rica, Brazil (game 1) or Italy.

    I fully acknowledge the team is getting better and better, but they still lack depth and in my mind have not fully proven they can play with the big boys consistently. The US needs more and more players playing (not sitting on the bench) in top leagues. I look forward to the day this happens, believe me.


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