World football governing body, FIFA, has picked Nigeria as the 29th best team in the world and third in Africa. According to the latest FIFA ranking made available to The Guardian, Belgium is still the world’s best team in 1773, followed by France (1744) and Brazil (1712).
England (1664), Portugal (1653), Uruguay (1645), Spain (1642), Croatia (1628), Argentina (1623) and Colombia (1622) make up the top 10, while Mexico (1621), Italy (1612), Netherlands (1603), Germany (1602), Switzerland (1600), Denmark (1593), Chile (1579), Sweden (1567), Poland (1558) and Africa’s number one, Senegal (1555) are among the top 20 teams.
Tunisia (1506), 26th in the world, are the second-best team in Africa, according to the ranking, while Nigeria (1493) is third in the continent.
African champions, Algeria (1482), are 35th in the world and fourth in the continent; Morocco (1456, 43), Ghana (1439, 46), Egypt (1420, 51), Cameroun (1413, 53), Mali (1389, joint 57) and Congo DR (1389 joint 57) make the continent’s top 10 teams.
After more than six months of disruption due to the COVID-19 pandemic, international matches have finally recommenced. With the exception of Uzbekistan’s 2-1 friendly victory over Tajikistan, the countries back in action have all been European.
The successful staging of these games was nonetheless encouraging for teams from other confederations as they seek to resume international fixtures in the weeks ahead.
FIFA said the 54 UEFA Nations League games that took place across Europe at the beginning of September had an immediate impact on the World Ranking, which had remained unchanged since April 9.
It added: “While there has been no movement among the leading quartet – in descending order: Belgium, France, Brazil, and England – Portugal (5th, +2) have moved into the top five thanks to victories over Croatia (8th, -2) and Sweden (18th, -1).
“Other countries moving in the right direction are Spain (7th, +1), Italy (12th, +1), the Netherlands (13th, +1), and Germany (14th, +1), with each gaining one place in the global classification. Wales (21st, + 2) climbed two rungs but remain just outside the top 20.
“Russia, hosts of the last FIFA World Cup, are further back in 32nd but had the biggest gain in this edition, ascending six places courtesy of wins over Serbia (31st, – 2) and Hungary (52nd, unchanged). “Despite not playing, IR Iran (30th, + 3) moved into the top 30 after Serbia and Turkey (32nd, -3) dropped points.”