If the FIFA rankings came out today, the Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football would occupy three spots in the Top 20.
Think about that. Even if you hate the FIFA rankings system, it’s a remarkable advance for CONCACAF.
The United States, Mexico, Costa Rica and Honduras entered the tournament at positions 13, 20, 28 and 33, respectively. If the rankings were calculated today, only Honduras would drop a bunch and the US would fall a little thanks to the play of France, Chile and the Netherlands but remain in the Top 15.
Mexico would have jumped almost 70 points to 952, while Costa Rica’s leap is even taller: almost 160 points to 927. The United States performance in group play actually cost the nation some points, as the US is down to 1018 points.
Put into perspective, all three nations will pass England, whose FIFA points, for the record, will drop to 911. I’d say make your own jokes, but they use a different three-digits for police emergencies across the Atlantic.
Honduras is going to drop for days, but let’s face it: their return to the Cup was a significant success for the nation that plays its home games under barely any lights and uses tactics that could make Luis Suarez blush.
Will the ride last any longer for CONCACAF? Perhaps that will be the biggest test, but as we told you to start the tournament, the confederation needed a run like this.
Would you rule out the US topping Belgium, whose last World Cup Round of 16 experience was in 2002?
Or if Belgium fails to win the group, Algeria, slain by the US in 2010?
Would you rule out Mexico over the Netherlands, give their guile under Miguel Herrera and the play of Ochoa?
Maybe you would. Maybe they’ll all lose, as certainly no one will be favoring any. But the fact remains that CONCACAF teams have risen above the following nations in their groups: Portugal, Italy, England, Ghana, Uruguay, Croatia and Cameroon.
Not too shabby for an also-ran.