One year away from hosting the World Cup and Brazil have dropped to No. 22 in the FIFA rankings.
The new ranking is a historic low for Brazil, who have never previously been south of No. 20. The five-time world champions dropped three places, from their previous rank of 19th, and are now sandwiched between Ghana and Mali.
Nations that are ahead of Brazil?
Bosnia-Herzegovina. Switzerland. Greece. Denmark. You know, your typical world powerhouses.
So how the heck did Brazil slip all the way to 22nd in the world?
As you know, the FIFA rankings are flawed. Terribly, terribly flawed (for a graphic explanation of the rankings, click here). But still, there must be some rationale behind the drop.
One reason for the sag is their unimpressive recent results, which include four draws in their last five matches. The draws have come against England, Chile, Russia and Italy.
Their only win during that stint was a 4-0 thrashing of Bolivia, who currently sit second from bottom in CONMEBOL World Cup Qualifying and are ranked 53rd in the world. The only other match the Seleção has played in 2013 was another fixture against England, which Luiz Felipe Scolari’s side lost 2-1.
Another reason for Brazil’s slide is that by spending the last two years playing only friendlies (by virtue of qualifying for the World Cup through being the host nation), they earn fewer points under FIFA’s complex calculation system.
So while the new rankings come as a huge embarrassment to the football-obsessed nation, the reality is that most still fear what Neymar & Co. can do in the upcoming World Cup. Notably, Las Vegas has Brazil as the favorites to win the World Cup at 10/3 (followed by Spain and Argentina at 5/1 and Germany at 11/2).
Other notables in the FIFA World Rankings include the U.S., which moved up one spot to 28th, England, which slipped two positions to 9th, and Belgium (12th), Bosnia-Herzegovina (15th) and Albania (38th), who all reached their highest-ever ranking.
Here are the Top 30 nations according to FIFA’s rankings:
- Ivory Coast
- Czech Republic