USA drop one spot to 14th in latest FIFA World Rankings, Portugal surge to fifth

21 Comments

The last update of the FIFA World Rankings before the World Cup draw takes place in Brazil on December 6 has thrown up some big winners and losers.

As for the U.S. national team, eh, not much that we didn’t expect as they drop one spot to 14th after their mediocre displays in two friendlies away from home in November, a 0-0 draw with Scotland and a 1-0 loss against Austria.

Jurgen Klinsmann’s men were hoping they could possibly sneak into the top ten but even if they did that, it wouldn’t have helped with their seeding for the 2014 World Cup as those had already been determined with Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, Spain, Germany, Belgium, Colombia and Switzerland the eight seeded teams.

Elsewhere the big losers were Belgium and England who slipped out of the top ten to 11th and 13th respectively, while the top four of Spain, Germany, Argentina and Colombia stayed the same.

(MORE: Full list of nations who’ve qualified for 2014 World Cup in Brazil)

Portugal moved up a whopping nine places and are now in fifth spot after they qualified for the World Cup with a playoff victory over Sweden. Overall the biggest improvement was seen from Cuba, as the Island nation moved up 27 places and are now ranked 47th in the world. As for the USA’s CONCACAF foes, Mexico rose four places to get back into the top 20, Costa Rica stay in 31st, Panama drop down to 37th, Honduras drop seven spots to 41st and Canada also drop three places to 114th.

Here’s FIFA’s World Rankings top 20 to take a perusal through at your pleasure:

1. Spain

2. Germany

3. Argentina

4. Colombia

5. Portugal

6. Uruguay

7. Italy

8. Switzerland

9. Netherlands

10. Brazil

11. Belgium

12. Greece

13. England

14. United States of America

15. Chile

16. Croatia

17. Ivory Coast

18. Ukraine

19. France

20. Mexico

LA FC continues active offseason with addition of Laurent Ciman

Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press via AP
Leave a comment

It seems like Major League Soccer’s latest expansion team is taking a page out of Atlanta United’s playbook in its buildup to the 2018 season.

[ MORE: NYCFC provides stadium details for Belmont proposal ]

After selecting five players in Tuesday’s MLS Expansion Draft, Los Angeles FC announced that it will be sending two of those players to the Montreal Impact.

LA FC will be sending Jukka Raitala and Raheem Edwards to the Impact.

The return? Bob Bradley and LA FC will acquire Impact center back Laurent Ciman — who has proven to be one of the best defenders in MLS since arriving in 2015.

“Laurent is a top defender who provides leadership and great distribution,” Bradley said upon acquiring Ciman. “His experience in the league and with the Belgian National Team will be invaluable as we build our club.”

With the addition of Ciman now in place, LA FC has built a strong central defensive partnership after the club also brought in former FC Dallas defender Walker Zimmerman in a trade on Sunday.

The expansion side already made a major splash with its first Designated Player signing this year, bringing in Mexican international Carlos Vela.

Huddersfield 1-3 Chelsea: Blues bounce back on the road

Leave a comment

Chelsea picked up a convincing road victory on Tuesday as the Blues topped Huddersfield Town, 3-1, at the Kirklees Stadium.

[ MORE: Gremio reaches Club World Cup final ]

The Blues came out hungry following Sunday’s defeat at West Ham, and an unlikely goalscorer gave  Conte’s group the lead.

Sloppy passing at the back saw Willian with the ball at the top of the Huddersfield area, before the Brazilian brilliantly played Tiemoué Bakayoko in on goal for his second finish of the season.

Willian — who played a key role throughout the match — extended the Chelsea advantage three minutes prior to halftime when his header snuck past Terriers goalkeeper Jonas Lössl.

Chelsea was clicking on all cylinders after halftime, when Willian helped set up Pedro for his third goal of the Premier League season.

Meanwhile, Laurent Depoitre pulled a goal back late for the hosts, but it was too late to rescue a result for Huddersfield.

Crystal Palace 2-1 Watford: Eagles storm back late, move up to 17th

Catherine Ivill/Getty Images
Leave a comment

All things were pointing towards Watford’s direction on Tuesday, but a late change in fortune gave the Eagles a share of the points.

[ MORE: Burnley climbs into Premier League top four ]

A pair of late goals gave Crystal Palace a 2-1 win over Watford at Selhurst Park, and pulled Roy Hodgson’s side out of the relegation zone.

Bakary Sako and James McArthur each found the back of the net after the 87th minute to complete an important comeback for the Eagles. Now, Palace sits 17th in the PL standings on 14 points.

The big moment of the match came in the 87th minute, when Tom Cleverley was sent off after picking up his second yellow card.

Three minutes into the match, Daryl Janmaat struck for the visitors after the Dutchman headed home Richarlison‘s cross from close-range.

Burnley 1-0 Stoke City: Barnes’ late strike guides Clarets into top four

Leave a comment

Don’t look now, but the Clarets have climbed into the Premier League top four.

Burnley found a way Stoke City late on Tuesday, picking up a 1-0 win at the Turf Moor behind Ashley Barnes‘ late finish.

[ MORE: Gremio reaches Club World Cup final, awaits Real Madrid or Al Jazira ]

The Clarets, who have now secured 31 points over their first 17 matches this season, leapfrogged Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham with the victory. However, all three sides will be in action on Wednesday.

Steven Defour nearly put Burnley ahead on 69 minutes, when the front man tested Stoke keeper Jack Butland — who had to make a sprawling save to his right.

While Stoke mustered up several quality chances, it was Johann Berg Gudmundsson’s blast in the first half that nearly found the top left corner.

Next up for Burnley will be a date against Brighton on Saturday, while Stoke travels to Huddersfield the same day.