In the latest set of FIFA World rankings the U.S. national team have slipped three places down to 18th and are no longer the highest ranked team in the CONCACAF region.
That’s because World Cup surprise package Costa Rica are heading in the opposite direction, as Los Ticos have climbed one place to 15th.
To complete the CONCACAF merry-go-round, Mexico have climbed one place to 17th as all three CONCACAF sides who reached the knockout stages of the 2014 World Cup are in FIFA’s top 20 in the latest batch of rankings. However the USA are now the lowest ranked of all three before their next batch of friendlies begin in September, October and November this year.
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Despite not playing any games in the last month since the World Cup ended, the U.S. have fallen due to the points system FIFA employ to calculate the rankings. World soccer’s governing body take into account the changing values of previous results in the four-year cycle of matches. Hence why CONCACAF teams have chopped and changed without playing a game.
Overall Germany remain in top spot after clinching the World Cup in Brazil this summer and after them a strong South American presence, Argentina, Colombia, Uruguay and Brazil are all in the top 10, means CONMEBOL has now overtaken UEFA as the highest ranked federation in world soccer. That is the first time South America has been deemed stronger than Europe since the rankings began.
Below is the full top 20 in full, as teams likes Portugal, Italy, Croatia and England all hang in there despite not making it out of their groups at the World Cup this summer.
FIFA World rankings, top 20
15. Costa Rica
19. Bosnia and Herzegovina
Ante Rebic, Luka Modric, and Ivan Rakitic have Croatia in the knockout rounds and Argentina on the verge of World Cup disaster.
Croatia scored a pair of second half goals, one aided by a Willy Caballero howler, in a 2-0 win in Nizhny Novgorod on Thursday.
Argentina will enter its final match against Nigeria on the outskirts of the knockout rounds regardless of how Nigeria-Iceland ends on Friday.
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Ivan Perisic forced a big save out of Wily Caballero for an early Croatia corner kick that came to nothing.
Messi had a chance stopped inside of 10 minutes, then started a play that Dejan Lovren blocked for a corner in the 13th.
Enzo Perez missed an open goal off a poor Croatia giveaway in the 30th minute.
There were a pair of fouls not out of place on a red card lowlight reel, one for each team, but neither resulting in a sending off.
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Croatia took the lead through Caballero’s gaffe and Rebic’s smash in the 54th.
Argentina nearly answered moments later. After a mazy Messi dribble, Argentina regained possession in the 64th minute, spearheaded by a Gonzalo Higuain run that led to a corner.
Croatia came close to making it 2-0, as Mario Mandzukic couldn’t turn a flick on frame and instead saw it glide into the outside of the goal.
Then Modric put the match to bed as the clock hit 80, an absolute beauty. Another huge defensive mistake allowed Mateo Kovacic to cue up Rakitic for the third.
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Willy Caballero has made one of the bigger blunders in recent World Cup history.
His Argentina side needs at least a point from Thursday’s match-up with Croatia, and the match remained scoreless into halftime.
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But 10 minutes after the break, Caballero flubbed a clearance in a big way.
The Argentina goalkeeper then could only watch as Ante Rebic kept his composure to blast a side volley into the goal.
It was a fine finish, to be sure, but not possible without such a terrible gaffe.
Pro Soccer Talk examines some of Thursday’s top transfer stories, including a Premier League giant looking to add to its midfield.
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Chelsea could be set to join Barcelona in the race for Juventus midfielder Miralem Pjanic, according to the Daily Mail.
The Blues and new manager Maurizio Sarri are said to be open to looking to Serie A to solve some of the team’s troubled areas, including in the center of the park to join France international N'Golo Kante.
Sarri is already said to be keen on signing Napoli star Dries Mertens, whom he has coached for several years at the Stadio San Paolo
Meanwhile, Juve has interest in a World Cup star, with Mexico’s Hirving Lozano attracting significant looks from around the world.
Lozano scored for El Tri in their 1-0 victory over Germany to open their 2018 World Cup campaign, and has become an instant star in the Dutch Eredivisie with PSV Eindhoven.
PSV would reportedly be willing to complete a deal if the Serie A champions shell out over $40 million.
Sticking with Juve, Emre Can‘s move to the Turin side appears to be close to finalization.
Can is set to have a medical in Italy on Thursday, as the 24-year-old anticipates completing a five-year contract with the Serie A giants.
Finally, West Ham United is looking to add to its attacking options next season, and the club could be nearing a record move.
Lazio winger Felipe Anderson is reportedly set to come to the London Stadium in 2018/19 as the Hammers prepare a $46 million deal.
Anderson tallied four goals in 21 Serie A matches last season for the Biancocelesti.
The 30-year-old has spent two seasons managing Hoffenheim, guiding the club to back-to-back top-four finishes in the Bundesliga.
Leipzig is currently without a manager ahead of the next season, so it remains unclear who will take over until Nagelsmann assumes his role in 2019.