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US drop two spots in latest FIFA world rankings

Jul 17, 2014, 7:49 AM EDT

USA Training & Press Conference - 2014 FIFA World Cup Getty Images

Despite a positive showing at the 2014 World Cup, the U.S. have slipped in FIFA’s latest World Rankings.

Jurgen Klinsmann’s men dropped two places to 15th in the first update in the rankings since the World Cup ended.

After getting out of the “Group of Death” and making the Round of 16, then taking Belgium all the way to extra time, it was far from a disappointing World Cup in Brazil. However plenty of nations have surged up and down the table with some big movers and shakers.

[RELATED: Story of the WC]

World Champions Germany move up one spot into first place, while Argentina move up three places to second. The Netherlands move up a whopping 12 spots to third, Colombia are up four places to fourth and Belgium move up to fifth after climbing six spots.

Some nations with big drops include Spain, who are down to eighth place, while Brazil drop four places to seventh. After failing to get out of the group stages, England dropped 10 places and are now 20th in the world. That is their lowest position since 1996.

The USA’s CONCACAF rivals fared well, as Costa Rica climbed 12 spots to 16th and Mexico moved up two places to 18th.

Below is a list of the top 20 teams in the World, with their moves up and down since the June rankings in parenthesis. Do you agree with these rankings after the World Cup?

1. Germany (+1)
2. Argentina (+3)
3. Netherlands (+12)
4. Colombia (+4)
5. Belgium (+6)
6. Uruguay (+1)
7. Brazil (-4)
8. Spain (-7)
9. Switzerland (-3)
10. France (+7)
11. Portugal (-7)
12. Chile (+2)
13. Greece (-1)
14. Italy (-5)
15. USA (-2)
16. Costa Rica (+12)
17. Croatia (+1)
18. Mexico (+2)
19. Bosnia and Herzegovina (+2)
20. England (-10)

  1. txbearmeat - Jul 17, 2014 at 8:17 AM

    Neither Greece nor Italy has any business in the top 15.

    • gla1967 - Jul 17, 2014 at 1:41 PM

      Why not?

    • sw19womble - Jul 17, 2014 at 7:33 PM

      Greece might play ugly, tedious football – but they get results, and that’s what the ranking is all about, not whatever team has the best-looking hair.

    • nickmaxell1nickmaxell - Jul 18, 2014 at 9:48 AM

      I dont know why nobody gets the pretty simple math behind the rankings – it is a ranking including the last 5 years of acomlishments with a point value for each event – after 5 years these points drop out – so if greece did well 4 years ago the points are still counted even they didnt get many this year – this is not an “on the spot” ranking but how well the teams did over the last couple of years be it In CL, COMFED or other events – only the teams playing consistently at a high level stay on top – if they only have one stellar moment the points are lost after 5 years

  2. thedeadlockvictim - Jul 17, 2014 at 8:31 AM

    We were passed by Netherlands, France, and Chile, That’s probably fair.

  3. lordfletcher - Jul 17, 2014 at 9:02 AM

    I know Portugal is a little banged up but I think they’re still a bit too high. They have all the talent they need, just not a strong team. Not sure if its coaching or in-team leadership but I don’t think they scare anyone once out their on the pitch

    • mianfr - Jul 17, 2014 at 9:15 AM

      Exactly, Portugal without Ronaldo is just England.

      • gla1967 - Jul 17, 2014 at 1:40 PM

        Please. They’re not that bad.

    • lordfletcher - Jul 17, 2014 at 9:41 AM

      *there not their… my bad

      • mlsconvert88888 - Jul 17, 2014 at 12:06 PM

        …Or maybe they’re

  4. skekzok0 - Jul 17, 2014 at 9:07 AM

    This is such a flawed system

  5. mikeevergreen - Jul 17, 2014 at 9:15 AM

    I think the first rankings after the World Cup should reflect the order of finish of the event.

    • patriotsdefense - Jul 17, 2014 at 10:35 AM

      No. You are utterly false. Please explain Spain then. Or explain Croatia being ranked ahead of Mexico when Croatia didn’t get out of the group stage.

      They might as well be pulling names out of a hat.

      • mikeevergreen - Jul 17, 2014 at 2:05 PM

        If you rank in order of finish, Mexico would be ahead of Spain AND Croatia. Spain should not be in the top 16. Any team that didn’t make it out of group should not be in the top 16. I am NOT utterly false, I am EXACTLY right.

      • patriotsdefense - Jul 17, 2014 at 7:41 PM

        You must be intoxicated

    • talgrath - Jul 17, 2014 at 3:07 PM

      Then they have to determine the places from 1st to 32nd, that’s a lot of extra games.

  6. fantom21 - Jul 17, 2014 at 9:42 AM

    Portugal at 11 is a joke, same goes for Greece, and the US being in their spots. But then again, FIFA rankings don’t mean anything, most of these teams play weak friendlies.

  7. patriotsdefense - Jul 17, 2014 at 10:31 AM

    Everyone has nailed it. Portugal has no business being ranked 11th. Greece ahead of the US too? That is highly questionable.

    Italy likely has no business being in the top 15 either. If not for reputation they wouldn’t be. And the only reason they got out of Brazil with a win was because they played a helpless England team. Pathetic.

    Switzerland had no business being rank 6th going into Brazil. If not for that high start I don’t think they’d find themselves ranked still in the top 10.

  8. dxkraus - Jul 17, 2014 at 11:38 AM

    FIFA is a corrupt, sick, joke.

    • gla1967 - Jul 17, 2014 at 1:39 PM

      Indeed, but what does that have to do with their ranking system, which actually works rather well.

      • mikeevergreen - Jul 17, 2014 at 2:06 PM

        You sure about the “works well” thingie?

  9. Steven Keys - Jul 17, 2014 at 12:49 PM

    Sorry, Joe, but I don’t think “big movers & shakers” are explanation for USA’s unexpected drop (-2) in post-WC14 FIFA rankings. As you write, USA made “positive showing.” Yanks played 1, 5 & 11 strong, a performance that should’ve gotten Klinsmann a personal (& first) congratulatory Presidential phone call.

    Another theory: “big bad wolf” syndrome (See; UN). USA (and to smaller degree, CONCACAF (EH)) is resented by many in this world for varying reasons, some valid, some prejudiced, even as millions flock to its shores annually. Hypocrisy knows no socio-economic class, nor boundry.

  10. jslip1 - Jul 17, 2014 at 1:19 PM

    *fart noise*

  11. gla1967 - Jul 17, 2014 at 1:38 PM

    I’m really quite shocked that England fell ten places in the rankings. It should have been fifteen, at least.

  12. mikeevergreen - Jul 17, 2014 at 2:07 PM

    The FIFA World rnakings. The rest of the world’s answer to the BCS.

    • sw19womble - Jul 17, 2014 at 7:36 PM

      ^ This

  13. mikeevergreen - Jul 17, 2014 at 2:08 PM

    The FIFA World rankings. The rest of the world’s answer to the BCS.

    • gla1967 - Jul 17, 2014 at 2:15 PM

      The FIFA rankings are based on strength of opposition and confederation and the importance of each match. Points are awarded for results.

      It’s a cumulative, ongoing ranking system, so the results from the World Cup are not the be all and end all.

      I’m not sure what alterative system you would propose.

      • lorenzo463 - Jul 17, 2014 at 2:32 PM

        How about one that doesn’t give extra points to team from Europe for beating the same team that a team from North America did, just because the team from Europe is from Europe. Or one that doesn’t penalize you for advancing to the round of 16 and losing your first match.

  14. lorenzo463 - Jul 17, 2014 at 2:28 PM

    Here’s all you need to know: Portugal and the United States both played Ghana, and both beat Ghana. Both teams got three points for the win, multiplied by four for the importance of the match, multiplied by 163 for the strength of the opposing team. The final multiplier is confederation strength. Portugal’s win got multiplied by .93, the United State’s win got multiplied by .87. Confederation strength is calculated by adding the confederation strength of both teams together and dividing by 2. UEFA’s confederation strength is 1.00, CONCACAF’s is 0.88. That’s right, a match is more valuable if a European team happens to be playing in it, even to the European team. So the same result got Portugal 1819.08 points and the United States 1701.72, for one undeniable reason: Portugal is from Europe and the United States is from North America.

    On top of that, the United States lost two games in the World Cup, Portugal lost one. So that’s two 0’s being averaged into the United States score and one 0 being averaged into Portugal’s score (your FIFA ranking score is (roughly) based on the average points earned per match). Never mind that the United States lost one more game because they advanced and got to play one more game. Making it out of your group and losing in the round of 16 is actually worse for your ranking than finishing third and losing the tie breaker in the group on goal differential. (Had the US not advanced, the average points per game for this Cup would have been 812.89. As a reward for advancing, it went down to 609.67.)

    And this matters a lot. World Cup seeds are based on these rankings. If the US can’t climb and get a seed, you can count on another group of death in Russia.

    • gla1967 - Jul 17, 2014 at 2:36 PM

      Lorenzo, do you understand that the ranking system is cumulative and historic, and that,over time – if the US becomes stronger, they will likely rise, while Portugal if they continue to underperform, will most likely fall?

      These rankings are not based solely on World Cup performance.

      • lorenzo463 - Jul 17, 2014 at 2:46 PM

        I do realize that. I also realize that the US is going to be stuck with an extra 0 that Portugal won’t have for the next four years because we advanced to the round of 16 and Portugal didn’t. I also realize that Portugal will get the benefit of an extra 120 points over the next four years for beating the same Ghana team that the US did. Even if they do become less important over time, Portugal benefits from being from Europe and not getting out of the group for the next four years. You tell me how that makes any sense.

      • simianvector - Jul 17, 2014 at 4:03 PM

        Because “getting out of the group” has zilch to do with the FIFA rankings, which are based only on wins and losses. The only difference between Portugal and the US’s record is that the US had one more loss, so it makes sense that a ranking system that only pays attention to wins and losses would punish them for it.

      • lorenzo463 - Jul 17, 2014 at 4:45 PM

        I’m saying that the system doesn’t make sense. Showing that a result is consistent with a nonsensical system doesn’t make the system make sense.

  15. gla1967 - Jul 17, 2014 at 2:56 PM

    Because the UEFA confederation is – currently – the strongest in the world. European teams consistently make it to World Cup quarters, semis and Finals, and have won the last three.

    It’s not a perfect system, but if people look at the big picture, Portugal fell SEVEN places as did Spain – that is huge. Rather than seeing it as the US falling two places, look at it as Chile and France rising – deservedly – due to their progress in the Wrold Cup.

    • delegator - Jul 17, 2014 at 4:22 PM

      The rise of the Netherlands was the other factor in our drop and England’s fall cushioned our decline a bit. It was a case of 1 step forward, 3 steps back in comparison to the other countries at the top.

      The system is imperfect, but any ranking system will be. Whether you talk about who was affected by injuries, or the system that uses confederation strength as a consideration, or other factors, you will never get an absolutely quantifiable ranking. Just ask college football fans in the US.

    • lorenzo463 - Jul 17, 2014 at 4:52 PM

      I agree that UEFA is the strongest confederation in the world (although they are counted as equal to South America in the rankings system). I get why Ghana should get more points for getting a result against a UEFA team than a CONCACAF team. I get why a UEFA team should get more points for a result against a UEFA team than a CONCACAF team. But why does it go the other way around? Why does the UEFA team get more credit for beating an African team than the CONCACAF team did? They played the same team, they got the same result, why does the reputation of the UEFA team make that team’s win more valuable?

  16. sibertt - Jul 17, 2014 at 3:38 PM

    On one hand, you can say the USA performed better than expected, which is true. On the other hand, the USA also had a losing record, which while not exactly fair considering the opposition we faced, is also true (and the Germany and Belgium games were games we COULD have done better had we actually showed up for each whole match, as opposed to just the ends). So staying roughly where we were would make sense.

    Taking that into consideration, we did we drop? Well, we were #13 – Chile, France, and Netherlands all made jumps, deservedly so, while England plummeted, also deserved. That puts a net gain of two more teams above us. Had we done better against Germany and/or Belgium, we’d probably still be ahead of Chile, which I think would be deserved as well.

    That said, while I think the US ranking is accurate, (and that it’s more appropriate to say other teams passed us than to saw we dropped two ranks,) there are still many other oddities with the FIFA ranking that don’t gel quite as nicely. Uruguay and Switzerland should not be as high as they are, and Chile could probably go higher. The main problem with FIFA’s system is that it doesn’t do a good job of factoring the strength of the opponent or the magnitude of the result. (The rolling time system is also really unwieldy.) I like Elo better – though, to be fair, Elo can also produce oddly inflated or deflated ratings (for example, Mexico’s draw against Brazil made them shoot up way higher than I think they should be).

  17. braxtonrob - Jul 17, 2014 at 5:21 PM

    Define “positive showing”.

    Anyone who watched our performance closely KNOWS we have no argument for moving up the Rankings.

    Sometimes ‘results’ don’t represent performance.

    • sw19womble - Jul 17, 2014 at 7:41 PM

      You have a point, but only Brazil get ‘style points’ in FIFA’s ranking system.

      That said, just wait for Qatar’s ranking to quietly creep up over the next few years. Not saying they’ll break the top 50, but….

      • braxtonrob - Jul 17, 2014 at 9:51 PM

        @sw19, Yes (LOL), that WILL happen, and sadly it will only make me laugh as it (Qatar moving up) does.

  18. 407magic - Jul 18, 2014 at 12:51 AM

    The top 4 seem legit. After that it’s just a cluster but Portugal, Italy and Greece need to be at 18, 19 and 20.

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