Thursday, July 21, 2005

US Men's team ranked 6th best in the World

Is this the 6th best team in the world?

So says the current Fifa Coca-Cola World Ranking.

The US moved up four rankings over the last month to reach this all-time best ranking. According to the US Soccer news release this is due to a "...six-week stretch in which the U.S. has won two World Cup qualifiers in convincing fashion and moved undefeated through their continental championship."

Here is the list of the top 20 teams in the World along with their movement over the last month and their current FIFA point total:

Rank Team +/-Rank Pts: Jul 05
1 Brazil 0 846
2 Argentina 1 787
3 Netherlands 1 781
4 Czech Rep. -2 778
5 Mexico 1 768
6 USA 4 765
7 France -2 749
8 England -1 744
8 Spain 1 744

10 Portugal -2 739
11 Germany 10 723
12 Turkey 2 716
13 Japan 5 715
14 Italy -3 713
15 Iran 2 711
15 Ireland 0 711
17 Sweden -5 710
18 Uruguay 0 703
19 Denmark -3 698
19 Greece -6 698

There are a couple of things I notice in this list. The soccer gods that are Brazil still stand tall (as they should) on this ranking scale. The way they played in the FIFA Confederations Cup should put to rest any thoughts that maybe they have gone soft since 2002.

Mexico got some good points out of the Confederations Cup as well (they were the only team to beat Brazil), but their fourth place finish seems to have prevented them from really firing up the chat (not that 5th in the world is a bad place).

Talking about firing up the chart, look at Germany. Up 10 spots in just one month. That is just amazing. Again, the Confederations Cup is the reason why. With all the worries before hand about Jürgen Klinsmann's handling of the team (especially the rotational defense) and the state of Germany's best know and most hated footballer Oliver Kahn, the way the played spoke for itself. The fact that they almost took Brazil to the mat in the semi-finals helped quiet the squad’s detractors. However, will they be able to do as well when they are not playing on home soil. We'll find out on the 17th of August when they go to Rotterdam to take on the 3rd best (and best of Europe) Netherlands.

On the down side of things, Greece. After last year's big Euro 2004 win, they have kind of, well fallen asleep. In the Confederations Cup, they only managed one tie (against a Mexican squad that had already clinched their trip to the elimination round) and did not find the back of the net once. Don't get me wrong, they are still a good team, but I think it might be awhile before they have another miracle on the pitch.



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