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USMNT finish 2014 at No. 27 in FIFA Rankings

USMNTStartingXI2-RepublicofIreland2014 (Getty)


The U.S. Men’s National Team finished 2014 on a slight high note, though it was mostly thanks to the demise of the Ivory Coast.

The USMNT were one of four teams in the top 30 to move up in FIFA’s December World Rankings, finishing 2014 as the No. 27 team in the world. Following a 2-0 defeat to South Africa, Ivory Coast dropped four places, allowing Greece, Ukraine, Ecuador, and the USA to move up the rankings.

It’s a precipitous fall for the USA, who finished 2013 ranked No. 14 and rose as high as No. 13, only to fall to a low of No. 28 last month on the back of a run of one win in their last eight games.

There was little movement elsewhere, though Serbia did jump eight spots and Zambia moved up 16 places within the top 50.

In CONCACAF, Costa Rica remains the highest-ranked team at No. 16, followed by Mexico at No. 20, the USA, Trinidad and Tobago at No. 55, and Panama at No. 57.

The top ten remains the same as well: World Cup winners Germany lead, followed by Argentina, Colombia, Belgium, the Netherlands, Brazil, Portugal, France, Spain, and Uruguay.


What do you think of these rankings? Did you expect the USMNT to finish 2014 higher? Like their chances in 2015 to rebound and get back in the top 20?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. The U.S. is probably about where we belong. We’re wildly inconsistent at times. We pull off a historic win against Italy in Italy, beat a quality Ghana side in the World Cup, get our first win at Azteca in I can’t remember when, yet as pointed out above, get embarrassed by an Ireland “B team” and tie a mediocre Honduras team. The consistency just isn’t there for us. Personally, I think we do a little too much experimenting. We’ve trotted out some guys who are clearly not international caliber, and yet have left world class players at home. As a soccer coach, I think sometimes other coaches are too philosophical and abstract at times. Many coaches are also WAY too worried about formations and tactics. At the end of the day, sometimes I think coaches over complicate things. Soccer is a game of control, pass, and move. It’s that simple. The great Dutch coach, Weil Coerver, understood that. In the U.S., our youth coaches are far too concerned about hoisting trophies at the youth club level, rather than focusing on possession and skill. There are too many U12 teams out there lifting “state cups,” instead of being more focused on individual skill and ball movement. You can teach tactics and formations until the cows come home, but if your players don’t possess the skills to carry them out, it’s going to see limited and inconsistent results.

    • “We’ve trotted out some guys who are clearly not international caliber, and yet have left world class players at home.”

      A) How do you know who’s world class until you give them a chance to play at the higher levels?
      B) Who are the world class players that have been left at home? (other than LD)

    • As long as we use the expression “world class” we probably won’t be able to have a meaningful discussion, because it just gets bogged down in the semantics of this very vague term.

      Having said that, I understand the perspective that we are perhaps doing too much experimenting…. however, you have to remember that this is the solitary period in the four year cycle during which we can clearly afford to do this.

      Understanding and maximizing the player pool that we will use through 2018 is the aboslute most important thing that can come of the friendlies immediately following the World Cup. Unlike UEFA teams, we don’t have qualifiers right now– and while this hurts us in the rankings (which ultimately don’t matter at the moment), it comes with the freedeom of experimentation…. something we will not be able to afford so much in 2016-2017.

      Occasional failure is almost always the price of experimentation. It’s how you figure out what (and who) will be worth moving forward with, and what isn’t worth exploring in more expensive situations.

      Sure we had some regrettable results…. but they don’t really cost us much… if you understand the FIFA algorithm, you’ll know that we probably would have dropped if we’d won those games. They just don’t mean much compared to the games other teams are playing. But we DID learn some things… I’d say Greg Garza’s emergence probably justifies the entire exercise. But there was also Rubio Rubin, the Jermaine Jones at CB possibility, and the realization that some guys (Beckerman comes to mind) probably need to be eased toward the exit. I’d take this knowledge over a sloppy 2-1 win over Ireland B in which we learned nothing… wouldn’t you?

      • Ali,

        The USMNT is on a 4 year cycle, with the World Cup the primary and really, only, competition that the majority of the fans care about.

        UEFA teams are on a 2 year cycle , the World Cup then the Euros and then the World Cup again.

        This means UEFA teams have an advantage over the USMNT in that it is a very difficult thing to rebuild a team over four years w/o meaningful competitions in that time. They get to show up at the World Cup with a sharper team. There are those who believe the level of play is higher in the Euros than in the World Cup. Whatever the case, with all due respect to CONCACAF ( I don’t really mean that) no one seriously thinks the Gold Cup is proper preparation for the Gold Cup.
        Hopefully, in this cycle with the Copa America and possibly the Confederations Cup along with the usual tournaments, things will be a little different.

        Perhaps it will only make a minor difference but then think about all the minor differences that make the difference between advancement and being knocked out.

  2. So now what….we wait until 2018 to get ranked where we should be ?

    They couldn’t even finish out the year with the US in a decent spot….a year where we finished top 16 in the World Cup. Wow.

    ps. how about England ? Like the World Cup didn’t even happen.

    • They get to play in Euro qualifiers and beat up on teams like Monaco. All FIFA games pretty much count for the same and those in Europe count for more that any games we could play.


  3. I tend to agree. We are behind Portugal, I team we finished higher than at the WC. Also behind Costa Rica and Mexico

    It’s a no win situation though. If you play friendlies to develop younger players and loose, you are punished in the ratings. If you play to win the friendlies, you may go up in the ratings but don’t develop players.

    We have some big name teams coming up next year before the Gold Cup. I think JK will have to use his current A team for those and in the Gold cup. We’ll know what kind of shape we’re in at that point

    • What would you consider a US A squad atm? Donovan, Dempsey, and Howard should no longer be considered as part of the 2018 squad. You’re MUST start playing the youngsters to prepare them for 2018 whether you like it or not.

  4. The rankings are a joke to begin with. Even if we had managed to beat Ecuador and Colombia, we still wouldn’t have cracked the top twenty. What did ranking as high as 5 or in 2006 get us? A first round exit from the Group of Death. The rankings won’t really matter until 2017 if at all. I expect 2015 and 2016 to be tough as well simply because we are scheduling quality opposition on a consistent basis. There is no excuse to draw an inferior team like Honduras or get blown out by the Ireland B team. The question is will we get better by playing Colombia, Germany, Brazil, Holland, etc. etc. etc?

    • The November 2018 edition of the rankings will be the one and only time in the next 4 years that this matters, because that is how WC seedings are determined these days.

      The 12 months following a WC offer almost no chance for CONCACAF teams to rise…. the best bet if you want to “game” the algorithm is to play and beat UEFA teams. Of course, that’s somewhat difficult to do given they are playing competitive matches against one another in Euro qualifiers, which is why European teams are

      It’s not a big deal though, as the algorithm heavily weights later/competitive matches in the cycle, of which we should have plenty. That’s how we made big gains last time. Confed Cup is a real opportunity, in this way.

      • It’s okay. It’s pretty much impossible for the US to get in the top 8 unless we win the Confed cup. Our games just don’t count for as much.

      • I wouldn’t go that far… it can be done…. it will just take an exceptional effort. We really were very close last time.

        As a tangent — What’s perhaps just as interesting is a scenario in which ANY non UEFA/CONMEBOL team achieves a seed.

        As long as the tournament format and regional allocations remain the same, the USMNT and its CONCACAF/Oceania co-qualifiers are likely to be in the same pot as the Asian teams… simply because there are four of each and it makes for easy math.

        One net effect of this is that there really is almost no reason for us to schedule friendlies with Asian teams (we very rarely do, outside of last years Jan camp friendly w SK). The chances of us meeting an Asian team in a competitive tournament are utterly tiny…. pretty much has to be in the knockout round of a World Cup until the format changes…

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