Rising eight and six places respectively, the USMNT and Mexico can be referred to as the clear-cut big winners – at least within the Top 30 – from FIFA’s latest world rankings released on Thursday.
El Tri, 12th in the rankings, behind Switzerland and a step above Denmark, had a picture-perfect showing in this summer’s CONCACAF Gold Cup, hoisting the trophy in Chicago after winning all six games in the team’s first tournament under Argentine coach Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino.
Greg Berhalter’s men, on the other hand, surged their way back into the Top 30 after a solid runner-up performance in the aforementioned tournament.
But what do the positive, upward trends say about CONCACAF’s giants, though?
Well, that the new era for both sides, despite being in a premature stage, is looking promising not only for the future of the national sides, but for the overall trajectory of the American and Mexican player along with the sport in North America.
As both rivals – and their domestic leagues, MLS and Liga MX – continue to amp up the competition and collaboration efforts among each other, the quality and opportunities are increasing exponentially. Such effect continues to garner eyes and interest from worldwide audiences and from scouts in Europe’s top-five leagues. In other words, North Americans are, slowly but surely, becoming constant go-to marquee signings for some of Europe’s best.
In January, American star, Christian Pulisic, signed for Chelsea after the English giants and Borussia Dortmund agreed to a record $73.1 million fee. An over-the-top purchase for many initially – keeping in mind the 20-year-old’s performance this summer and ascending marketability – the price tag the Blues paid for his services doesn’t seem inflated one bit.
The Gold Cup also allowed Mexican promise Edson Alvarez to finally make the leap to the other side of the Atlantic. Astute, composed and a natural leader, Alvarez slots in as the natural replacement for either Mattijs de Ligt or Frankie de Jong at Ajax. Both historical and record departures, it speaks volumes about the confidence and legitimacy a recent Champions League semi-finalist has given the Club America and Mexico national team product.
The USMNT and Mexico swarming up the rankings hand-in-hand is not a new trend, but with the interconnection of current times and the slew of Americans and Mexicans already making a name in Europe, Thursday’s latest rankings is a visual representation that the new era is all about rampant growth for North America’s giants.