Argentina has finished top of the FIFA World Ranking, earning the accolade of “Team of the Year.”
Argentina, which lost to Chile in the final of the Copa America Centenario having also being runners-up in the Copa America and the World Cup in the preceding two years, replaced Belgium at the top of the ranking in April and have been there ever since.
In all the Argentinians won 10 of their 15 games, losing three times and drawing twice. One of their three losses coming in the continental showpiece on penalties to Chile in June.
Edgardo Bauza replaced Gerardo Martino as coach in August after a troubled start to World Cup qualifying which sees Argentina only fifth in the table.
Belgium, who were “Team of the Year” in 2015, have now dropped down to fifth place while Brazil moved up to second, and almost replaced their CONMEBOL rivals in first place last month.
The “Mover of the Year,” title was awarded to France – the nation who earn the most ranking points in the last 12 months. The team won 13 of their 17 games and drew three — their only defeat being to Portugal in the final of Euro 2016.
France who had not played competitive football for two years due to qualifying for Euro 2016 as hosts, started the year in 25th place in the ranking, and finish in seventh — European champions Portugal are eighth.
Looking at the table in terms of places gained this year, Guinea-Bissau (68th, plus 78 spots since December 2015) and Curaçao (75th, plus 76 places since December 2015) are the biggest winners of 2016.
The African side had a stellar year, reaching their first-ever CAF Africa Cup of Nations, while the tiny Caribbean island nation secured several positive results in qualifying for next year’s Caribbean and CONCACAF Gold Cups. Both teams also make the top ten in the ‘Mover of the Year’ table in terms of points gained.
Though the Super Eagles maintained its top 10 position on the continent in the December edition of the monthly FIFA ranking, the three-time African champions dropped one spot on its world placing.
The next FIFA World Ranking will be published on Thursday, 12 January 2017.