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USMNT falls two spots to No. 15 in latest FIFA Rankings

USA National team

Photo by Celso Bayo/


The U.S. Men’s National Team exceeded expectations at the World Cup by getting out of the “Group of Death,” but their finish in the Round of 16 didn’t do them any favors in the latest FIFA Rankings.

FIFA released its first rankings since the end of the World Cup and the U.S. fell two places to No. 15, one place behind Italy and a spot ahead of CONCACAF rival Costa Rica. With the World Cup title, Germany moved up one place to No. 1, followed by Argentina, the Netherlands, which jumped 12 places, Colombia, and Belgium, to round out the top five.

Despite losing in the quarterfinals, Uruguay moved up one place to No. 6, ahead of Brazil, which dropped four places to No. 7 after an embarrassing 7-1 defeat to Germany. Spain, Switzerland, and France round out the top 10, in that order, with Spain dropping seven spots and France moving up 10 places.

On the back of Costa Rica’s inspiring semifinal run, Los Ticos jumped 16 places to No. 16, ahead of Mexico at No. 18. Panama dropped two spots to No. 33 while Honduras fell seven places to No. 40.


What do you think of these rankings? Feel that the U.S. is the 15th best team in the world? Think they should be higher?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Fifa rankings never make sense. USA won three straight friendlies before the world cup, which is factored in too.

    On the other hand, the prior ranking was probably too high.

    • I listened to many of the games on ESPN radio . The announcers kepts talking about the historical African achievement to put 2 into the knockout rounds, ignoring the 3 from CONCACAF. Announcers on the radio don’t listen when you yell at them any more than the players on tv.

    • And in the meantime, the UEFA teams play each other in Euro 2016 and its qualifiers, increasing their rankings, and the rest of the world plays against its own confed and loses ground.

  2. The rankings are silly, the US got 989 points. If they hadn’t lost to Portugal, I mean tied, they would have had 1136 pts, and been 3 places higher in the rankings. Shows you how a microscopic difference can have a huge effect upon the numbers.

    • Not to mention the “CONCACAF Tax” on the value of any game we play… 75% of our teams got into knockouts. Think South America only fed to do better

      • And also if the USMNT beats Portugal, in addition to having enough points for the US to move up to 12th, Portugal would have had less points and might have dropped to lower than 11th, so it could have been a net gain of more than 3 spots.
        It’s just the FIFA rankings…..

  3. ranking method is not perfect by any means. Venezuela went up 10 places to 30 and didn’t play a game!

    however, for the ‘Monday morning I told you so’s out there: US is improving, and over time, I sincerely BELIEVE we will win a world cup final.

    where it starts? culture change! best athletes in US still play other sports at young ages. soccer players continue to improve, as more people care about soccer – not as a sport that their kid can play just because they don’t play any sport – but as a sport that every kid wants to play because they are the best athletes! encourage kids to play as their #1 sport, and we will be #1 in the world!

    • Huge USMNT fan, but – 2 things

      1) I find it very unlikely that soccer takes over from the NFL or NBA (or college equivalents) or somehow supplants MLB as THE American sport. But, every 4 years we will have this debate. . which, in and of itself, continues to show that soccer is not a top 4 sport here in the US.

      The good news is, with the US population size, even a minority of athletes playing the game allows our team to be competitive.

      2) The US will not win the WC in my lifetime. There are only a few countries with the talent and pedigree to regularly compete at the semi-final and final level, let alone win. Recall that it has taken a once in a life time generation of Spanish players to make it to the pinnacle.

      • I agree with you to an extent. The MNT seems to have found a “glass ceiling”. We are good enough to consistently reach the WCF (at this point it would take a disastrous qualifying campaign or suddenly multiple other CONCACAF sides raising their game to the level of Costa Rica to really threaten us not qualifying.

        In 2002 we were lucky enough to draw Mexico in the round of 16 so had our most successful modern era WC. 2006 we bombed out. 2010 we again found a way to get out of the group as did we this year, but both times we played teams we had no answers for, teams which simply are quite a bit better in many facets of their game.

        If we can start breaking through to the QFs regularly, maybe get to a semi … I think that is doable. A final in many ways takes an incredible run of luck and skill and I agree with out we are not suddenly going to become better than Germany or the Netherlands or Argentina or Brazil.

        I don’t think we can downplay how much the game has grown in the last 20-30 years though. I do think we risk a plateau phase here … but if we could keep up this same level of improvement and growth we should expect to be playing very late in a WC (but that is an entirely different level than CONCACAF bully). The WC is a much bigger deal than it was in the 1980s or 1990 (when TBS or whomever had the rights cut to commercial every 10 minutes regardless of the situation). MLS is a bigger deal (but still has a long way to go) than even 10 years ago.

        I just want to see continued improvement (which won’t be linear).

  4. I think the rankings are actually pretty reflective. No system would be perfect, but these rankings are objective, and most teams are in the general right place. There will always be outliers you can point to as ridiculous, but this system is as good as any other.

    • Good point. While not perfect, they seem to have the U.S. pretty well pegged. On average, the U.S. has been eliminated in the round of 16 every world cup since 2002 (2002 – quarters, 2006 – out at group, 2010 – round of 16 & 2014 – round of 16).

      If performance against the world’s best, i.e., the world cup, is the ultimate determination, we should be ranked somewhere between 9 & 16 on average. 15 is pretty spot on for now.

      I don’t know that the rankings have worked out as accurately for other national teams though.

    • It is not as good as any other. The fact that Argentina would get more points for beating Germany than the U.S. would because of the confederation they play in is a disgrace.

  5. so many much angst..if you don’t know how the FIFA rankings work by now and accept it for what it’re just wasting mental energy at this point

  6. GHA – USA 1:2 3 4 163 0.87 1701.72

    POR – GHA 2:1 3 4 163 0.93 1819.08

    That is all you need to know about FIFA rankings, Portugal got more points than USA for beating Ghana by an identical scoreline solely because they play in UEFA. Such a joke

    • Exactly, people need to really understand the rankings formula. You get weighted points for beating certain opponents and playing in certain conferences.

    • The difference is Confederation strength weighting. Confeds get weighted by the number of wins at the last 3 WCs. At FIFA, they have Europe and SAmerica at 1.0, Concacaf at 0.88, Asia and Africa at 0.86 and Oceana at 0.85.

      Basically, it favors the higher weighted conferences to remain the higher weighted conferences. Presumably after the success of Mexico, CR and the USA, Concacaf will get a higher weighting going forward.

      • I know why it is happening but that doesn’t mean its right. You should get points for how good the team you beat was, not how good the confederation you are from is.

      • It is insane that the rankings are done this way. I hadn’t looked into it closely before. Bald-faced corruption.

    • I knew that your results were weighted based on the confederation of the opponent, which kind of makes sense, but I didn’t know they were weighted by the confederation you’re in. That makes no sense. If FIFA thinks CONCACAF is an inferior confederation, shouldn’t you get more points if you’re a CONCACAF team that beats someone from a different confederation? It’s basically like they made it definitional that CONCACAF is worse than UEFA or CONMEBOL.

      • uh, it is. but, would the US qualify out of a Euro qualification system?

        I think so, if not as a group winner, than a playoff.

      • If I’m reading the FIFA doc correctly the weighting factor for each game is the average of the confederations weights of the two teams playing.

        In a reasonable points system the weight would be lower for the team from the better confed and higher for the team from the worse confed, as you say. Like in ELO systems.

  7. How did Portugal’s rankings work out for them? England the previous WC?

    Every cycle people proclaim these rankings “matter” for slotting/group stage and every cycle we’re reminded how flawed and ridiculous they are.

    2: Advance in group play
    3: Game on

    Matches aren’t played on paper and the US continues to verify the ludicrous nature of these FIFA rankings.

  8. These rankings, as flawed as they are, matter. I know the game is rigged but it’s still the game. I wonder how things play out if we just hold on to beat Portugal? Rankings aside – these are the moments of the game that the top players live in and fight all the way through – no lapses, no messing around. We’re getting there.

    • @Kosh.. I also wonder how things may have gone, had we held the 3 points vs Portugal. I’m thinking that JK then is able to play the entire bench vs Germany, and use his substitutions to support simply resting up and tuning up the team prior to the knockout game instead of having to go full on in desperately trying to get some result v Germany.

  9. Whoever thinks this was a successful World Cup because we got out of the “group of death”, think again. We won ONE (1) game against a lower ranked opponent and only just barely. We lost or tied opponents ranked above us. We got WORSE as the WC rolled on, Suffered too many injuries and did not give most players any rest by using the bench.

    We had an offensive scheme that included route one balls or “kick it and run” but we ended chasing the ball ( and the game) for most of the WC.

    The “group of death” was a moniker given by the pundits for noting that teams in this group were the highest ranked average, but we fared better in previous WC when we were ranked significantly BELOW other teams in our group. It’sm true we had to face the 2nd,4th and 8th ranked team in succession, but Costa Rica had a bigger hill to climb and succeeded.

    In the 2006 WC, a lot of praise was given to the German coaching staff for bringing the moribund German team along and into the semi’s and a lot of that praise was directed by the unknowing to Klinsmann, those in the know gave the credit to Low. It know appears we picked the wrong German.

    • Klinsmann stinks. His roster selection was awful. Johannsson gets selected with an injury (yet he’s still “slightly ahead” of Donovan). He makes no provision for a replacement for Altidore in the event of an injury, and he brings Brad Davis. Then he plays Bradley out of position the entire tournament. So, his thinking is “I’ll bring the injured guy and Davis, because he has blazing speed, great composure on the ball and great results against high-level international competition. Then I’ll move MB up in the formation. That way I can stick it to Donovan. Sure, he’s great on the ball and could help us maintain possession, but I’m a genius so screw him.”

      • Let. It. Go. I was disappointed LD didn’t make the squad, and I still think it was a mistake. Would it have changed our fortunes? No. Are we a better team than Belguim w/ Donovan? No. Would we beat Germany w/LD? No. Would we beat Portugal w/LD? No.

        Would we played more attractive soccer? Maybe. Who knows? Sounds like you don’t.

      • Would we have struggled as much for possession with Bradley in his natural position and LD playing in front of him? No. Would that have translated into a win against Portugal? Probably. Mag ain’t Germany? Probably not. Against Belgium? Who knows. But, against Belgium, Timmy would not need to make 16 saves and the defenders would not have looked like a bunch of rubber-legged drunks if we had more possession of the ball.

      • I’m surprised you haven’t added that had LD been there Jozy wouldn’t have gotten injured. Surely that’s as causal as the rest of your spoutings?

      • Writing this from my room as I am grounded this summer:

        Dad’s decision to drop LandyCakes was purely based on camp performance.

        Nothing to see here other than my tweet that I quickly removed.

        BTW, do you think I will get the starting nod at Cal this fall?

      • Dempsey’s natural position nowadays is Landon’s (withdrawn striker). Dempsey and Bradley playing out of position had a lot more to do with Jozy going down and not having a replacement (Klinsman’s error in my mind). You could play LD and CD in more of a 4-4-2 if you are going more offensive etc…but the Turkey showed us we are not up to it against better teams.

      • I would not have left Donovan off the roster either, but it was a move for the future. We were never going to get that far in this World Cup. Now the US team knows they can win without Donovan at the World Cup, and several of our young players now have World Cup experience.

      • Face it: Landon Donovan must have sucked in training and/or had a lousy ‘tude. Either one of those is good enough to get left off, but unless JK writes a book, we’re not going to know what the deal was.

      • Um. Even if JK does write a book, why in the world would you think he’d tell the truth warts and all? “Hi, everyone! Let me tell you about this time that I made a terrible decision from a position of responsibility and power!” Pretty rare to find that.

      • Exactly. Most people have made up their mind about JK. They are on board, and accept that no one makes every call right. They see progress in the level of play, that we out played Portugal throughout the game, the effectiveness of the young guns at the cup, increasing talent level, etc… Or they are focus on failed roster decisions of Davis & Wondo, see LD decision as a personal grudge, etc….. So don’t let the rants of the other side bother you. They are just rants. Some informed, others not so much. BLOG sites are rarely good places to find even keeled individuals. So my idea is to enjoy it the best you can…. BTW.. I think JK is moving us forward, but sometimes you have to clean out the weeds before you can grow the garden. LD was a great player for a long time, but he is not great now… I would have taken him, but I think the real problem may have been what kind of teammate was he going to be. Just my rant.

      • I can really only quibble with Davis. He was replacement level. Would LD have been happy being AB’s backup? Probably not.

        Wondo was hot as heck coming in and probably showed better in training than LD or TB, to say nothing of the 30 snub EJ. His inclusion damn near worked out, too. It’s a shame he missed, but he did everything right to get in that position. It happens to the best. If strikers always scored their chances ARG would have hoisted the cup, not GER.

      • Good points. I am patly in both camps. Klinsman is good and also made some bad decisions.

        Then, you you speculate about LD not being on roster.

        Klinsmann stated that LD didn’t make squad because he was a step behind other players. He was wrong.

        Any other speculation requires us to acknowledge that Klinsmann lied to us about how he makes decisions.

      • “Klinsmann stated that LD didn’t make squad because he was a step behind other players. He was wrong.”

        You weren’t in camp. JK was. That’s all I need to know.

      • His roster selection was awful? Practically everybody didnt want Brooks, Yedlin, and Green. Lol fams were really wanting Parkhurst and Goodson.LD i can understand. But look whathappened. All the young boys stepped it up. We dont get out of the group without Brooks scoring and yedlin setting up a goal. If you call his selection awful, you are clearly delusional

      • JK’s controversial roster decisions where Wondo and Davis. Listing Brooks first seems odd since I don’t remember his inclusion being much of a controversy at all.

        Looking back, Johannsson was a bad decision too, injured months before camp, poor form during those 2+ months, enters camp late, comments about how camp is too much work (here I’m hinting that his form and fitness are below necessary leel, not that being honest is bad, and also want to note that its different than LD’s comments before actually being able to train in camp for 10 days and look good doing it by a trainers accounting of player fitness).

        I was happy with Klinsmann, and am happy with Klinsmann moing forward. But, we need to look back at decisions made and figure out which where good and which were bad so we can improve.

    • Klinsmann is the best. His roster selection was amazing. Green gets selected against all advice (yet he’s still “way ahead” of Donovan) and scores. He makes something out of nothing for Altidore’s injury, and he brings John Brooks. Then he works around an out of form Bradley the entire tournament. So, his thinking is “I’ll bring DeAndre Yedlin, who was also questioned by everyone, because he has blazing speed, great composure on the ball and great results against high-level international competition. Then I’ll move MB up in the formation. That way I can stick it to Donovan. Sure, he’s old and fat and happy to speak poorly about the team, but I’m a genius so screw him.”

      • If Jozy doesn’t get hurt, where do you play LD? He probably isn’t better than Dempsey, JJ or MB90 right now.The only position is on the wing, or as JK says, as a forward.

        He is not strong enough to play the hold up position, so he is not a replacement for Jozy.

        I dont’ know that LD is strong or fast enough to play 60 minutes on the outside – so he isn’t a like for like with Zusi or Bedoya – never mind that this was the weakest spot on the team.

        So the only logical places are on the bench instead of AJ, Yedlin or Green. Did we know that AJ was hurt going in?

      • Outstanding Del Griffin!
        To add also, would be that I’m about done listening to all the LD whiners’ bitching and moaning. Admittedly he was not in top form during pre WC training, His speed has lessened and is thusly not the countering icon that he used to be and he’s proving his decline these days barely being a 60 minute man at the Gals, where he’s definitely not lighting up the scoreboard. His inclusion to the MLS all star team is probably totally out of respect for his past and not for his current lack of superiority. He was a tremendous player and he did tons of positives for the USMNT over his prime career, but hell, with respect to our MNT program, stick a fork in him will ya! I’m excited about our prospects in the next 3-4 years under JK. I think he got as much out of our situation as he could have in Brazil.. I support and wish him the best. Go USA! I think our future is bright thanks to our development under JK.

    • You are freaking hilarious in making your Loew/Klinsi Comparison. The jockey doesn’t carry the horse across the finish line. I think I could have coached that talented German line-up to victory.

      • Seriously… It was only when Loew quit richard-ing around and played Boateng at CB and Lahm at RB that Germany actually started firing on a cyls.

      • No joke. The only reason Lahm ended up at RB is because the guy playing there got injured. Loew might not have even done it otherwise. But the one thing we do know is that it didn’t happen until the injury.

        Loew also made some risky calls and got lucky that both Schweinsteiger and Khedira got healthy on by the knock outs.

    • Wow….

      Listen, I lived in Germany and Klinsman was highly regarded for what he did with the team. They actually WANTED him to stay. In terms of your group of death argument, (I usually do not insult people on this site), you are a little delusional. The US group was in a harder than Costa Rica’s group. They played Uruguay (without Saurez — very pedestrian team even with Cavani who was nothing in this World Cup), England team (about the worst in over 20 years) and a very underwhelming Italy team. If Uruguay have Suarez for all 3 group games, they win the group easily and Costa Rica walk out with 4 points and loose to a better Colombia with ease. Uruguay was the best team in that group and Germany EASILY outclass them, Portugal is better than Italy, and Ghana is better than England (seriously).

      Our scheme changed because Jozy went down causing Dempsey and Bradley to play out of position. He moved up Dempsey and brought in AJ in the withdrawn role, but that did not work out. EJ on top would have been better, but he was going with a mix of youth and veteran team. Keep in mind, when we were too open, Turkey torn us apart in the send off games.

    • I love how in the comments section of an article regarding FIFA rankings you use FIFA rankings to try to diminish the accomplishment of the USA’s win over Ghana when everyone and their dead grandmother knows that Ghana was on a par with, if not better than, the US heading into the tournament. The only reason Ghana had a lower ranking than the US is because Ghana’s national team is penalized for not playing as many friendlies as we do. Furthermore, we were 15 seconds from beating Portugal, but lets just ignore the fact that we were the better team in that game. In fact, go ahead and mention that we only won one game, which is true: but belies the true nature of our team’s play, to make it seem like the USA played much worse than they actually did in order to enhance your argument.

      • Even though we played the crappiest game in USMNT history v. Germany, we still lost by the same margin as Argentina did in the final!

      • Matthew R….. You can also ad that we win the Belgium game in regulation if Wondo’s ‘gimme’ hits the back of the open net.

      • Urg, I don’t like calling things “sitters” or “gimmes” but that was perfect for Wondo. That chance was made for him.

      • He makes that “made for him” and all the controversy of his inclusion goes straight the hell away due to the tactical decision for his inclusion. JK was planning on something like that to happen!
        Oh the chaos that would have erupted LOL…

      • Very true, and regardless we took a loaded Belgium team to extra time so either way we definitely had a successful tournament. I still don’t see how guys like Alexi Lalas and others can compare this team to 2010’s performance when we played Algeria, Slovenia, England, and Ghana vs. this WC with Ghana, Portugal, Germany, and Belgium…

    • A lot of the delusional hate for Klinsmann comes more from LD fans than US fans. Remember when we broke a winning record or something last year and everybody was loving Klinsmann? LD gets left off and people will try to turn every detail into their favor of why Klinsy is a terrible coach. The true fans with actual logical criticism towards Klinsy i understand. But bottlecaps’s comment was awful. We beat a lower ranked team in Ghana? Wtf who cares about the ranking? On paper practically everyone had Ghana as stronger team( more stronger individuals at leash). And the fact that you think we should beat everyone ranked below us is hilarious. And it appears you care more about pretty soccer than actual results

      • A great deal of the win streak was due to Mr Donovan. He scored or assisted on almost every goal that tournament. If not for him, we would have changed our tune from, oh, it was just a Gold Cup, to how come we didn’t win the Gold Cup.

      • Hey if i was coach, Donovan would have been on the squad. But the comment by Bottlecaps was pretty unreasonable and delusional

      • are you joking? That gold cup was weak. We were playing with nothing near our best, like everyone else. LD had something to prove, so he was in shape and playing hard. After his nice run against weak competition, he got fat, slow, and lost his first touch. Sorry. He was amazing in his day. But his game was always based on his speed and ability to see the play ahead of everyone else. He doesn’t have either one anymore.

    • @bottlecaps

      Not sure what you were expecting. Considering the injuries to our squad I think we overachieved. Are you new the the US soccer scene, because it shouldnt come as a suprise that we were not dominating possesion.

    • It was a successful World Cup. It’s actually been an incredibly successful last three years under Klinsmann.

      For those who can’t seem to wrap their heads above just how well the USA really played, I like to refer them to this list of World Cup teams, of just how valuable the team was in the world transfer market:

      WE ARE PUNCHING WELL ABOVE OUR WEIGHT. We were ranked #28 out of 32 teams in the World Cup in terms of value on the world transfer market. We’re literally worth a tenth – a tenth! – of what Brazil’s players are worth.

      Scroll on down to Group G for a second. Germany is worth $621 million. Even Ghana is worth $150 million. The combined worth of our players is just $77 million. Only three of them – Dempsey, Bradley, and Altidore – were worth more than $5 million on the transfer market, and we lost Altidore 15 minutes into the tournament. So slash that to maybe $70 million.

      Klinsmann didn’t make perfect choices – obviously the lack of a backup target striker was his biggest mistake, and I suspect even he’d admit that, in hindsight – but other decisions, like Brooks-over-Goodson, Yedlin-over-Parkhurst, and Green-over-whoever ended up being brilliant moves. It was actually the veteran guys (Brad Davis, Wondo) who ended up letting the US down…and Klinsmann selected Wondo over the German-born, much younger, and much larger Terrence Boyd.

      We got an extremely respectable result in a group we would have died in, in previous years. The 2006 iteration of the USMNT finished dead last in a very similar group that included eventual champion Italy, Ghana (again), and the Czech Republic. And that was under Bruce Arena…who is by almost anyone’s account one of the top 2-3 American coaches in the game.

      And more to the point, it was the WAY Klinsmann got a result that makes me perk up. If you look back to just 2011, the USMNT was in dire straits. We’d just lost 4-2 to Mexico in the Gold Cup and our talent levels had fallen to their lowest point in probably the last 10 years. Donovan was busy taking a sabbatical, and our ENTIRE backline needed to be rebuilt (we had Jonathan Bornstein, an aging Carlos Bocanegra, and aging and injured Oguchi Onyewu and aging and even more-injured Steve Cherundolo across the backline at that point.) And there was NOTHING in the immediate pipeline then.

      Now we have young players all over the place, and a lot of them now have a World Cup under their belts. And we’re in a position now where we’ve got a strong core and Klinsmann can focus on the U-23’s and the Olympics and see how many young guys we can generate. We’ve also got a ton of dual-nationals or prospective dual-nationals making noises about wanting to join the USMNT: Gedion Zalalem, Diego Fagundez, Darlington Nagbe…even Dom Dweyer is talking openly about playing for the USMNT.

      VERY different spot than we were in, in 2011. We’re so far ahead of where we were then it’s night-and-day.

      • We were not in dire straights in 2011. We were at a cross roads. We had an aging defense at a time when Mexico had a team at the top of its game. We took a 2-0 lead in that game in the first 20 minutes and collapsed when the “ever injured” Cherundolo got hurt, which was the real start of his downward trend out of the USMNT and Hannover too.

        Now, I will say this, Klinsman has found replacements, started a recruting movement, and he did get us out of a very difficult group. But we were in a very difficult group in 2002.

        So kudos to JK for doing a good job at WC2014, but don’t act like he has turned water into wine.

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