Belgium finishes the year in the No. 1 slot on FIFA’s rankings, something the Red Devils will hope is a harbinger of what’s to come at EURO 2020.
France, Brazil, England, and Uruguay finish second through fifth.
The United States men’s national team finishes the year at No. 22, up three spots from 2018. It’s their highest year-end finish since 2013 (14th) and one spot ahead of their all-time average spot.
The Yanks are ranked 39th by EloRatings, generally considered to be a fairer approximation of strength.
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FIFA’s December release sees very few changes, and minimal ones at that. South Korea moves up a spot to 40th, South Africa up one to 71st, and Bolivia nudges its way into the Top 75.
China sinks to 76th, while only one nations moves more than a single spot. Hong Kong dips two to No. 141,
The new rankings again show which CONCACAF nations are on track to participate in the Hex.
El Salvador pulls into sixth place amongst CONCACAF teams with only six months to go until the rankings decide which six teams qualify for the Hex.
Mexico holds tight at 11, while the USMNT sits 22nd. Costa Rica, Jamaica, and Honduras would join El Salvador to round out the Hex if it started today. That would leave Canada, Curacao, Panama, Haiti, and Trinidad and Tobago playing in the second group of World Cup qualifying.
The winner of that group would play in the playoff against the fourth-place team from the Hex, with the winner of that match playing an interconfederation playoffs for a spot in Qatar 2022.Follow @NicholasMendola