Busy Month Sees Germans Stay Top, Belgium Reach Third
March saw a busy month in international football, with a total of 133 games played across the globe meaning plenty of changes in the latest FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking.
Teams bound for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ grabbed some of the headlines this past month, with holders Germany remaining top – despite a draw and defeat in March – Belgium climbing onto the podium (third, plus two) following a thumping 4-0 win over Saudi Arabia and Tunisia (14th, plus nine) and Uruguay (17th, plus five) jumping up the table after both recording a pair of friendly victories in March. The Eagles of Carthage, for their efforts, reached their best-ever ranking.
The amount of games last month was partly down to a glut of friendly fixtures, but there was also competitive action, with qualifiers for the AFC Asian Cup making up 13 of those 133 matches. As a result, some lower-ranked Asian teams saw a remarkable upturn in fortunes. Kyrgyz Republic (75th, plus 40) stole the show on the world’s most populous continent this month, qualifying for their inaugural Asian Cup after defeating Myanmar and leaping up the latest ranking as a result. Elsewhere in Asia, Oman (87th, plus 16), Chinese Taipei (121, plus 13) and the Philippines (113th, plus nine), leapt up the table, partly as a consequence of positive results in Asian Cup qualifying.
There were also best-ever positions for the newest FIFA Member Associations, with Kosovo’s pair of friendly victories over Madagascar and Burkina Faso seeing them leap 24 places to 152nd, while Gibraltar’s 1-0 win over Latvia saw them jump ten spots to 196th.
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