The U.S. men’s national team heads into Friday’s FIFA World Cup draw off of the back of a second-consecutive dip in the world rankings.
The Americans dropped to 15th place in the second FIFA rankings of 2022, one day after clinching their spot to Qatar. Gregg Berhalter’s side ended the Concacaf octagonal round with a 1-1-1 record this March, most recently losing 2-0 to Costa Rica on Wednesday night in San Jose.
The USMNT joined Canada and Mexico as Concacaf’s three automatic finishers for the World Cup, and could also be joined by Costa Rica, should the Ticos defeat New Zealand in the Intercontinental playoff.
Mexico’s ascent up the world rankings continued with El Tri jumping up three spots to No. 9. Tata Martino’s side claimed two wins this month, defeating Honduras and Mexico in their final two qualifying matches.
Costa Rica’s impressive end to qualifying moved them up to No. 31, sitting just outside of the top-30 national teams in the world. The Ticos won five of their final six qualifying matches to earn a crack at a World Cup berth against the All-Whites in June.
Canada’s second-ever World Cup berth did not help them from dropping down to No. 38 in the world. John Herdman’s side defeated Jamaica 4-0 to officially clinch their trip to Qatar, but did suffer losses to Costa Rica and Panama in between.
Seven of the top ten spots in the FIFA World Rankings remained the same, but Brazil leapfrogged over Belgium and into first place after finishing its qualifying cycle unbeaten. France, Argentina, and England remained in the top five while Mexico’s ascencion into the top ten bumped Denmark down to No. 11.
The USMNT isn’t expected to take the field again until June when the 2022 Concacaf Nations League kicks off group stage play.
All things considered, Pot 2 is a pretty good place for the US to land. It seems our 3rd place finish didn’t matter much with Mexico in the same pot. On a positive note, quality teams like Germany, Denmark and the Netherlands are in the same pot, which means we will not face any of them in group play. With a little luck in the draw, a path to the knockout round may be a bit smoother.
Only good news is, we didn’t fall out of Pot 2. No harm, no foul, I guess. I doubt even the full 9 points would have gotten us up to Pot 1.
Italy did us a solid by crashing out. Thanks, Italy!
Wouldn’t we still be in pot 2 if Italy had qualified top 15 + Qatar?
Yeah, looking at it I think so. They have Croatia below us at 16 and they’re Pot 2 so I guess we had a hair more wiggle room. Still don’t like cutting it quite that close but hey, Pot 2 is Pot 2, I’ll take it, and let’s face it, we aren’t Pot 1 quality yet though I think we might well be soon…and will be by default anyhow since we’re hosting in ’26.
We really need to avoid Senegal in Pot 3 and I’d take anybody but Brazil, Belgium, or France out of Pot 1. Anything other than those four in our draw and I’m reasonably happy.