Nigeria Drop One Step in FIFA Ranking

Femi Solaja

The failure of Super Eagles to hold on to the two-goal lead before sharing the spoil 2-2 in the international friendly against host Ukraine early this month has cut down Nigeria ranking by one step to 34th from the 33rd of last month according to the latest ranking released yesterday by FIFA.

Two first half goals from new invite, Joe Aribo and another from Victor Osimhen gave Nigeria a momentary lead in that friendly played in Dnipro.

If only Coach Gernot Rohr and his wards had sustained the winning scoreline before the late draw, perhaps, Nigeria would have raced to 1490 points and stay ahead of Northern Ireland who dropped points from 1496 to 1488 to slide four spots in the September ranking.

Although the 2-2 result against a higher rated Ukraine was not altogether a bad result for Nigeria, it only added a marginal one point to the three-time African champions from 1481 to 1482 and a drop by one step to 34th. Ukraine moved from previous 1513 to 1516 but remained rooted to 25th position.

The Super Eagles however retained their third position in Africa behind leaders Senegal and Tunisia.

In the global ranking, Belgium remained on top of the standing after an action-packed number of weeks in international football which saw 78 friendlies, 74 continental qualifiers and 60 FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 qualifiers taking place.

Although the teams in the top ten remained unchanged, there have been some movements within. France (2nd, up 1) and Brazil (3rd, down 1) have traded places, while Spain (7th, up 2) are the top ten’s biggest movers of the September ranking.

The Cayman Islands (193rd, up 11) and Grenada (160th, up 13) are the joint-biggest climbers by points, reaping the rewards after their successful showing in the CONCACAF Nations League.

Indeed, Grenada’s 13-place surge means that they are September’s highest climber by ranks.

Other notable upwardly mobile nations include Jamaica (47th, up 5), who have broken into the top 50, the Republic of Ireland (28th, up 4), Russia (42nd, up 4), Guatemala (133rd, up 11), Suriname (142nd, up 9), Montserrat (187th, up 9) and Djibouti (186th, up 9), who recently overcame Eswatini (150th, down 11) over two legs to advance to the second round of African World Cup qualifying for just the second time.

Meanwhile, Kosovo (119th, up 1) have been rewarded for their impressive performances in UEFA EURO 2020 qualifying by reaching their best-ever position in the FIFA ranking.

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