When it comes to world-class soccer, it seems as if we — in the U.S. — only discuss national teams when the World Cup rolls around. In a way, that makes sense, since we are the underdogs on the world stage, and the limelight usually comes on yet another attempt to rally our squad past the powerful teams around the world
On October 1, 2015, the newest FIFA World Rankings were released. These latest results were quite interesting; especially when you take into consideration all the intricacies that go into crafting the standings, something also noted by Bleacher Report:
The formula that underscores the standings is complex. Results, the importance of matches and the strength of opponents are given points, which are multiplied together to provide an overall total.
Then, another coefficient is applied depending on the opponent’s confederation (CONMEBOL 1.00; UEFA 0.99; AFC, CAF, OFC and CONCACAF 0.85), per the governing body’s official website. Over time, the value of results decreases.
Of course, we’re not here to try and make things more complicated. We’re here to make sure you have all the key pieces of information. And as far as these rankings are concerned, it’s all about knowing which squads are better than the rest. With that in mind, here’s a look at the top five national teams in the world.
- Total points: 1,228
With Real Madrid’s James Rodriguez leading the way, Colombia remains a fixture in the top 5 of the newly released FIFA world rankings. However, on account of the quality play by the teams ahead of them on this list, the Colombian National Team is actually down a spot from the previous rankings.
- Total points: 1,235
Fans of Portugal have to be delighted with their team’s position in the latest FIFA rankings. Since the hiring of manager Fernando Santos, Portugal has yet to lose any of its Euro 2016 qualifying matches. As a result, they’ve climbed two spots, and now sit firmly as the No. 4 team in the world. If this group keeps up its current form, and world-class superstar Cristiano Ronaldo remains healthy, there’s no reason to think Portugal can’t continue to climb in the world rankings.
- Total points: 1,387
While things couldn’t be going worse for him at the club level, with Chelsea continuing to flounder in the English Premier League, Eden Hazard has helped the Belgian national soccer team maintain its position among the world’s elite. Despite dropping a spot — to the No. 3 position — in these latest rankings, Belgium has created plenty of distance between them and the No. 4 ranked Portuguese squad. When you take into consideration how talented most of these national teams actually are, the Belgian players should feel pretty good about their spot in the latest rankings.
- Total points: 1,401
Don’t look now, but the world champions are gaining some steam. Following September victories over Poland and Scotland, Germany has jumped Belgium for the No. 2 ranking in these latest FIFA standings. If you took the time to watch the 2014 FIFA World Cup, then you are well aware that when the German national team is playing their best soccer, they are almost impossible to stop. Perhaps they’ll be able to use this current momentum to catapult themselves to the top spot. However, considering who currently holds the position, that’s probably easier said than done.
- Total points: 1,419
With the magician that is Lionel Messi leading the way, Argentina continues to be at the top of the world rankings. Although other teams have certainly closed the gap as of late, and news of their top player’s recent injury is sure to make things more difficult, the Argentinian national team has shown recently that they are the team to beat. Until further notice, the South American giants are the No. 1 team in the world.