Argentina ends year atop FIFA ranking; Brazil second, USA 28th

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Thursday December 22nd, 2016

South American rivals Argentina and Brazil concluded 2016 atop the FIFA world ranking, with the world's governing body of the sport releasing its final table of the year on Thursday.

Argentina, which finished second to Chile in Copa America for a second straight year and sits fifth in CONMEBOL's World Cup qualifying table, did enough to maintain its top spot, while Brazil has embarked on a tremendous turnaround under new manager Tite. The Seleção lead the 10-team table, winning all six matches–including a 3-0 rout of Argentina–since Tite took over for Dunga following an embarrassing Copa America showing. 

Argentina and Brazil are followed by 2014 World Cup champion Germany, Chile, Belgium, Colombia, France, Portugal, Uruguay and Spain to round out the top 10 in the ranking that is widely criticized but significant at times given its use for seeding in World Cup draws.

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The USA sits in 28th, the third-highest-ranked team in the CONCACAF region behind Costa Rica (17) and Mexico (18). The Americans lost to both nations to kick off the final round of World Cup qualifying and spell the end for Jurgen Klinsmann's reign as manager. Bruce Arena has taken over for the U.S., which will play Serbia and a yet-to-be-named opponent in friendlies at the conclusion of the annual January camp before returning to World Cup qualifying play in March against Honduras (ranked 75th) and Panama (58).

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