Belgium ascends to No. 1 in FIFA ranking for first time; USA down to 33
For the first time in its footballing history, Belgium is the No. 1-ranked team in the world.
Marc Wilmots's side has ascended to the top spot in the FIFA world ranking, supplanting Argentina and leapfrogging 2014 World Cup champion Germany on the strength of its most recent European Championship qualifying victories. Belgium has secured its place in France 2016 and will face Spain and Italy in a pair of high-profile friendlies later this month.
Germany remained No. 2, while Argentina fell two places to No. 3 after wobbling in the start of 2018 CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying without the services of Lionel Messi. The two 2014 World Cup finalists are followed by Portugal, Chile, Spain, Colombia, Brazil, England and Austria, respectively, to round out the top 10.
The U.S. men's national team, which was eliminated by Belgium in the 2014 World Cup round of 16, fell four places to 33rd (tied with Hungary and just behind Iceland and Cape Verde Islands) following losses to Mexico and Costa Rica last month. Mexico, which secured CONCACAF's berth to the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup with the 3-2, extra-time win over the USA, is the region's highest-ranked team at 24th. Costa Rica is third, coming in at 40th.
The USA's first two opponents in World Cup qualifying, St. Vincent and The Grenadines and Trinidad and Tobago, are 129th and 54th, respectively.
The year's final FIFA world ranking will be released Dec. 3.