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USMNT jumps 10 spots to 10th place in latest FIFA rankings

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A pair of regional trophies was enough to give the U.S. men’s national team a major boost in the latest FIFA rankings.

The USMNT jumped up 10 places to 10th overall in the newest FIFA rankings after winning the Concacaf Nations League and Concacaf Gold Cup titles. The Americans couldn’t quite overtake Mexico, which is ranked ninth, but closed the gap to the narrowest of margins heading into Concacaf World Cup qualifying in September.

The new ranking is the highest position the Americans have had in the FIFA rankings since May of 2006, when they were ranked fifth. FIFA reconfigured its ranking criteria after the 2006 World Cup,

Reaching the top 10 puts the USMNT in range of potentially securing a top-eight seed for the FIFA World Cup. It is still a long shot because the Americans would likely have to climb as high as seventh in the rankings before the 2022 World Cup, which will require both a dominant run in World Cup qualifying and at least three teams stumbling in the rankings (jumping ahead of Mexico would likely happen if the Americans finish in first place in the final round of World Cup qualifying). That is all assuming FIFA maintains the same criteria for World Cup seeding, and the criteria for the 2022 World Cup seeding has yet to be decided.

The new ranking is a major positive for American players aspiring to play in England, with the top-10 spot meaning USMNT players need a lower percentage of national team games played to secure UK work permits.

The Americans compiled eight wins over the course of the two summer Concacaf tournaments, including a pair of victories over Mexico, which now holds a slim 10-point lead on the Americans in the FIFA rankings.

The USMNT returns to action in September, with World Cup qualifiers at El Salvador on September 2, then against Canada in Nashville on September 5, and then at Honduras on September 8.

Comments

  1. Call me an exception but I actually think that 10 spot is about right for the moment. I wouldn’t put us higher than that because we haven’t found ourselves a striker yet but we’ve got a ton of really good players most everywhere else and we’re flat loaded with Champions League guys…aside from the likes of Brazil, Argentina, Germany, England…who else can really say that? And you look…does England have our keepers? No. (And Germany’s playing some wretched ball by their own standards at the moment though obviously they’ll be back.)
    So there are really no perfect squads out there.
    We tend to collectively carry around a national inferiority complex…but actually, the fact remains, our player pool is actually pretty durn legit right now, and if we can find a true-blue striker, we’ll be an actual threat that turns EVERYBODY’s heads around.

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  2. when belgium, france, and england are still ahead of italy the rankings are goofy. i would separate out i think this talent should have been flying up the pecking order from reality. i think the margin between what the talent deserves vs what we’re getting done is evident in the stuttering performances but the increasingly strong results. reality based on results we should be ahead of mexico but behind switzerland and colombia (who beat us), and germany probably as well.

    also, as i said below, i think the big games are more telling of elite pecking order than rankings that just reflect running the tournament tables including martinique. it matters more how clemson and bama play than how their game with east carolina went. in terms of who to select. in terms of where does this stand.

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    • i also think when short term wins and rankings get focal it can encourage retrograde decisionmaking of the “zardes” or “roldan” or “ream” sort. you fall back on what is comfortable. you maybe even get the result. they then “wondo” or “clark” you later on. i think you’re better off with the best forward leaning team you can scout, and that you grow better through “robinson” or “hoppe” or “moore” type risks. those risks initially are depicted as risking rankings to experiment, but if the new player betters the team then the results and ranking naturally follow, and you hopefully bake less problematic players into the cake than if you respond to stress by reaching for your old school blankie. omar won his way back into the 2018 team by gold cup success. we baked that into the cake. we probably got a short term rankings boost. he then cost us. it kind of matters more in the big picture whether the team is optimized. you will get what you need that way. it’s the conservative roster response it encourages which can hurt a team.

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    • Under the current calculations your points are cumulative so Italy’s ranking is still somewhat recovering from their 2018 failure to qualify. Another thing that hurts Italy’s points is matches that go to penalty shootouts are considered draws. So in the eyes of the computer Italy didn’t defeat England and Spain they tied so the teams split the points so to speak. The current system removed the benefits given to Europe and SA because wins in those regions used to be worth more, but it really isn’t fair that a win over Hungary earns similar points a win over Haiti. It does not account for goal differential either. It’s a flawed system but it’s better than it was and far better than any voting system would be. The good thing is it really means very little.

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  3. So are there 3 number ones given to next World Cup cycle then

    Of course they are inviting 128 teams to play sooooo…

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  4. My ranking scale would be forward looking and based on the amount of young talent playing for top clubs, which I think is a better predictor of future team results than recent tournament results. That’s the only way I can get to top 10 for the US. These recent results were ugly grind-out wins, and way too close against inferior teams. I think 10 is way too generous. I don’t know how fifa’s rankings work (link anyone?) but someone should try some creative alternative ranking system using data on the players rather than the team results. Club minutes, club results, league quality, age, even fifa-21 player score (not really serious about that one) – but you’d get a more credible ranking that way because tournament results are so flukey, with PKs, red cards, and mistakes deciding one goal games. What if our C team had lost in the quarters at the gold cup? We’d be many notches lower, and it would mean nothing. Need a player-based rank.

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    • you have your cause and effect backwards. as is evident from the recent post gold cup transfers, the european clubs fall in love with the players from strong national teams. it’s a lagging indicator — an effect — you’re trying to say is the cause. just like the 2018 cycle team had a bunch of MLS and sucked not because they were MLS but because the talent was so poor who wanted them?

      in terms of the implication europe is to thank for our recent form, no, try FCD academy. if you went down the roster list you would find most of the players remain domestically developed. the FIFA 18 year old rule basically forces this. if our abroad ambitions rise then that reflects we did a better job here with our kids. not that europe is fixing us. we have very few players from european age group teams. and if they are buying our players it’s because they were already in U20 worlds or signed to pro rosters. they are cherry picking with a checkbook. so of course they can accumulate a lot of the players off in demand national teams. it would be more compelling for your argument if they had somehow fixed the 2018 mess. yedlin and brooks and FJ and co. didn’t do a thing for us that time……

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      • I wouldn’t read that much into it. It’s really just a comment about statistics. There is a much larger and richer set of data if you take an approach that uses players’ club success to judge national team quality.

    • Dave I think that might be too difficult given so many players around the world playing in so many different leagues. How do you measure a 15 g scorer in the English Championship to a guy with 15 g in Liga Mx or a 25g scorer in Qatar. As long as they’re not using it to choose the teams for the WC a flayed system that’s really just talking point is fine.

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      • I don’t know man, it’s just a thought. I’m a nerd, if that’s not abundantly clear already. I’d love to try it someday if I had the data. It has the benefit that it’s the same thing we do when we evaluate teams in our heads. Why did fans in-the-know rate Croatia in 2018 with not much team winning history? Because it had Modric, Rakitic, etc, and they played for Madrid, Barcelona, etc. And we were right.
        Would you have backed Greece for WC06 after they won Euros? Probably not, they didn’t have many great players. And you would have been right, they didn’t qualify.

        I would actually use minutes, not goals, on similar logic that it’s their production potential as judged by coaches and scouts, and not actual production, and it doesn’t bias by field position, pks, etc.
        So minutes, team success, league quality. Score each country by its best player in every position. Goalies would be a problem (e.g. what do you do with a backup on a great team like Steffen) but I’m on to something here!!!

  5. This is only important at this point for players looking for moves to England. Now players that have played 30% of US matches in the last 12 months are automatically qualified for work permits. Let’s say James Sands or Antonee Robinson want to try their hand in England it could now be an option. Way to far away from the WC to worry about seeding of pots for the draw with everyone around the world playing at ton of qualifiers in the next 7 months to worry about that yet.

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  6. Super super happy – our highest ranking since 2006 – but….I have to admit: finding out that somehow Mexico is STILL ranked higher than us (after two straight tournament final wins over them) is very frustrating.

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    • that reflects this is a math construct considering multiple years and not a current day pecking order. personally i am going to ruffle feathers and say if we can beat mexico at home either real late or OT — and in quali they will host their own flipped fixture — that we are either slightly ahead or about even. people forget 2017 won gold cup and then missed out because we couldn’t win road games or beat costa rica at home. i think we should qualify first but the margins will be tighter than people think. because no OT. because road games half the schedule.

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  7. Puhleese let’s not give England such lofty respect. They made a final this summer in a major tournament yes but the last time they got to a final was waaay back in 1966 played on home soil. Sick and tired of overrating the English national team and their players.

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  8. I think that this ranging is a bit too high because our first team hasn’t played together enough. However, by the time of the next WC and with some of our youngsters getting more European experience I think we will be at least a top 10 team and, depending on the draw, could/should make the quarter finals.

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  9. the ranking thing is bad for this team because it tends to encourage roster conservatism on a team where all the real talent is young, and like 90% of our summer results were 1 goal games. wins, but not emphatic. my experience the people obsessed with rankings also tend to pimp status quo lineups, when with this team we might even accelerate if we went with the generational shift.

    i also think the team itself needs to emotionally stay in the place of winning one at a time game after game and not take this or the 2026 talk seriously. if you win over and over by working through each game, you will get the end goals.

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    • to me it’s more important how the games with good teams go than how the rankings place us, for the same reason it matters more in the big picture how bama and clemson match up than whether clemson is ranked #2 after a schedule including east carolina. i think NL is a slight positive sign but i’d like to see us win more emphatically, in regulation, and also against teams outside north america.

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  10. Positions about 8 and up (and germany) are in there own class. After that the next teams through about 15 or 20 are all about even as well. Staying consistently in that top 20 is good. Strive for that upper tier is the ultimate goal. Perhaps in a couple cycles is things keep moving forward?

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    • dude, beginning of cycle sarachan had them beating mexico, tying france and portugal, and losing 1-0 late to italy. before GB reinvented the wheel we were already catching back up.

      case you don’t realize, this team has plenty of history going toe to toe with the world elite, was once a quarterfinal team and round of 16 regular, and in no way should second tier status be acceptable and some snob tactical project to fix. it’s basic competence for USA and if he can’t take this talent boom and make something with it he’s the wrong coach. the U20s coach, who kind of sucks, had them to the quarters. if GB can’t get them at least that far this time he sucks as well.

      i am convinced that a lot of this down-talk is like snobs trying to deflate expectations. if you have a golden generation but it will take a decade to make your tactics work then that’s their whole career you’re wasting. i kind of think when this much talent drops in your lap anything short of semis is a disgrace. people think i am trying to talk the team down, it’s the opposite, this should be better than what it is. if you’re like, but we won the tournaments, yeah, we can do better. need to if the plan is to beat south american and european teams to advance.

      there are actually very few teams that are permanently good. a lot of name brand teams run in cycles where at their peak they can win things but at their trough they too might not qualify or be a group round disaster. development has more to do with sustained success. that and sound tactics that travel well.

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    • Whoa – IV. Not sure where that rant came from.

      Lets be honest with ourselves and recognize that there are a handful of truly elite football nations that are WC quarterfinalists or continental semifinalists (almost) every tournament. Lets start with Brazil, Argentina, Germany and Italy. Then there are a few teams during each quadrennial who have a great generation. Those who are coming down from a great team would include Chile and Belgium, and Spain and Portugal. However, the depth of those countries almost always results in a pretty good team, if not great. So, there are 8 teams – like MOO said. That doesn’t even include France – the reigning WC champions and England who have a pretty good set of players right now and a coach, who may not light the world up, but hasn’t crapped the bed. This is not snobbery; its tradition and fact.

      Then we have the next level of teams, who in any given tournament could make the quarterfinals or are the best teams in their federation. I would put the US and Mexico at this level 16-32 almost all the time. Costa Rica was there, but their players are aging. Maybe Qatar is there, when Japan and South Korea were in the past. And a few African countries, depending on the ups and downs of those nations.

      It is great that the US is 10, and in reality, could be close to that ranking, but to say that MOO is underrating a national team who didn’t even qualify for the last WC, is not realistic either. The USMNT had a great (and maybe surprising – at least to me) summer in 2021. We should enjoy it, and hope that it lasts through CONCACAF qualifying and into the WC in Qatar.

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      • we have made the quarters — the final 8 — at 3 consecutive U20 world cups. a single one of those would be a mixed signal. 3 consecutive says we should be the class of Concacaf and a top 8 global team. i realize there is some “breakage” between U20 and senior but a team with consistent strong development should be translating into a strong senior team.

        the snobs have some sort of year 0 mentality where we like started over when they won the coaching job. the team has a history. the team has made the quarters once and the round of 16 like 3 times, including twice consecutively before missing out. during that period we were already in a state where we could occasionally beat about everyone out there, including england, spain, brazil, italy, etc. it is unacceptable to act like with our current talent plus that history — plus the snob sales pitch that their changes would improve competitiveness — to suggest i should be content with top 8 talent and our history still being a round of 16 team.

        and to be blunt as someone who won 2 state select championships, you do it by beating all the name brand teams you can and not by making excuses about how you are better than x but worse than y and “that’s ok.” bluntly, having already run the table on concacaf, if he has any added value left, he needs to start flipping some of these swiss, italy, england, colombia, brazil losses.

        to be clear, we were up on colombia at half, up on france at half, up on swiss early, even with italy almost to the end. the pretense we are second tier is crap. we are getting close and it doesn’t help any remaining margin to disappear to deliberately water down expectations. to me if you are handed golden generation talent much should be expected of you. i am amused that for all the supposed effort to elevate the team the rhetoric is now akin to how it used to be — contented as regional top dog and not that obsessed with beginning to eclipse global rivals.

      • more bluntly, they have decent teams — so do we. you don’t get to fence straddle on this. if we have that level talent then if we are serious about competing for the big enchilada, the standard to keep your job has to elevate from “fired for complete disaster” to whether you are making this the top handful team it should be based on talent. when we figure that out we might join the top few. as long as we take foot off gas every time we win gold cup we are going to be limited to gold cup trophies.

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