Brazil tops FIFA rankings; India placed at 101

Brazil surged to the top of the FIFA world rankings for the first time in seven years. It was all the more sweeter as it usurped great rival Argentina.

Brazil became the first country to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia.   -  Getty Images

India made a jump of 31 places to be ranked World No. 101, in the latest world rankings released by FIFA on Thursday. It was the second best mover after FYR Macedonia, which climbed 33 places to World No. 133. As reported a week earlier by Sportstar, it is India’s best ranking since May 1996, when India achieved a similar ranking of No. 101.

India is placed 11th in Asia. With the top eight eligible to qualify for the 2026 World Cup, India has a decent chance to make a return to the World Cup.

READ: Praful Patel: ‘The emphasis is on the grassroots’

In the last two years, India has had 11 victories in 13 matches (including an un-official match against Bhutan), scoring a total of 31 goals.

These wins also include some historic results — 1-0 victory over Myanmar in the AFC Asian Cup qualifiers – the first ever win in Myanmar in over 64 years, and India’s first ever win in an away encounter in over a decade when it beat Cambodia 3-2 in an International Friendly. India also registered a 4-1 win over Puerto Rico at home last year.

 

Stephen Constantine, who took over as national coach when India was ranked 171st, said: “It has been a difficult road. Bringing in new blood and creating competition for places in the team has been a process, and I’m pleased we are moving in the right direction.”

“It’s been a total team effort. Unless Mr. Patel (AIFF President Mr. Praful Patel) and Mr. Das (AIFF General Secretary Mr. Kushal Das) allowed me to do the things and the manner I wanted it to be done, this won’t have been possible ever,” he stressed. “I also need to thank the support staff for their commitment for the team.”

India next plays an international friendly against Lebanon on June 7th which will be followed by an AFC Asia Cup qualifier against Kyrgyz Republic on June 13th. Two positive results in these matches could help India to a double-digit ranking.

Meanwhile, Brazil surged to the top of the FIFA world rankings for the first time in seven years. It was all the more sweeter as it usurped great rival Argentina. It caps a terrific week for forward Neymar and Brazil . Last week, it became the first country to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, its latest step on the road to redemption after the embarrassment and heartache of the World Cup failure on home soil in 2014.

Brazil was dumped off top spot after its elimination from the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. Its new surge is in contrast to Argentina and Neymar’s Barcelona team-mate Lionel Messi, whose country is in danger of missing out on next year's World Cup. It will not be able to call on its star man for three of its four remaining qualification matches because of suspension.

Third in the newly released rankings is world champion Germany, followed by Chile and Colombia. Switzerland enters the top 10, up to ninth, with former No. 1 Spain clinging on in 10th.

 

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