The United States men’s national team played a pair of experimental road friendlies in March, drawing in Switzerland after losing to Denmark, and improved in the FIFA rankings for their troubles.
In the latest example of the bizarre world of the aforementioned world rankings, the USMNT has risen five spots from 32 to 27 in April.
Germany remains atop the leaderboard, with Argentina right behind the World Cup champs. Belgium moves into third, while Brazil jumps to fifth.
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As for the States’ opponents in March, Switzerland moves up three spots to ninth after its USMNT draw and a win over Estonia, while Denmark stays 28th — one spot below the U.S. — with its other match being a 2-0 loss in France.
Wales jumped 15 spots to its highest ever ranking, 22nd, after beating Israel 3-0, while Bhutan made the biggest jump of anyone (46 spaces to No. 163).
In CONCACAF, Costa Rica’s loss to Panama and draw with Paraguay dropped Los Ticos two spots to No. 15, while wins over Paraguay and Ecuador helped Mexico rise three slots to 18. Panama rose eight spots to 53rd after wins over Costa Rica and Trinidad & Tobago.
The U.S. next faces Mexico on April 15. El Tri released its roster on Wednesday.
View the rankings in full here.
And, we’re off!
You probably didn’t even notice, but the very first qualifier for the 2018 World Cup in Russia was played on Thursday, as Bhutan, the 209th-ranked team by FIFA (out of 209), shocked the world — or the handful of people who knew the game was taking place — by beating Sri Lanka, 1-0.
Bhutan, a South Asian country of roughly 750,000 people, last won a game in 2008 when they defeated Afghanistan, 3-1. Tshering Dorji scored the game’s only goal as Bhutan upset Sri Lanka, the 174th-ranked team in the world.
Following the famous victory, head coach Chokey Nima and his team went for a post-game meal at the KFC next to the team hotel. We are all Bhutan.
As previously discussed, the FIFA rankings are pretty much worthless and a waste of time, but any team that hasn’t won a game in seven years is very much in the conversation for “world’s worst national team,” so the world governing body may have actually got this one right.
The U.S. national team kicks off its 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign this November, as the Yanks — along with Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Trinidad and Tobago — enter during the fourth round of qualifying, while Canada enters during the second round this June. | FULL CONCACAF QUALIFYING DATES HERE