The FIFA World Rankings were recently updated after the Copa America Centenario and Euro 2016 tournaments concluded. After a stunning campaign, Italy cracked the top 10 in the FIFA rankings for the first time in over a year. The Italians have hovered outside of the top ten after a downward spiral that was triggered by the group stage elimination in the 2014 World Cup. Despite losing the Copa America final to Chile in penalties, Argentina still remains ranked the number one team in the world.
The Euro 2016 tournament was full of surprises. In their first appearance in a major tournament, Iceland made it all the way to the Quarterfinals before France handily defeated them 5-2. Wales had a similar Cinderella story reaching the Semifinals. Both teams were anticipated to not even be a factor and instead played a major role in tournament.
Portugal took home the gold and are currently the champions of Europe. They defeated France in extra time by a score. They moved up two rankings from the win. Technically speaking, Portugal didn’t make a big jump up the rankings because many of the teams they defeated were below them in the first place. Portugal was ranked 8th going into the tournament, there are only a handful of teams they could have defeated to make a serious jump.
Wales and Iceland were both ranked very low in the FIFA World Rankings and their victories over some major teams cemented their climb up the ladder. Iceland jumped 12 places and Wales jumped 15 places up the rankings. France and Italy were the two new teams that broke into the top 10.
Italy’s 2016 Euro Cup squad was anticipated to be the worst in Italian soccer history by many. Antonio Conte proved his doubters wrong and centered his formations around Italy’s strengths. Their defense was almost impenetrable and only conceded two goals the entire tournament. One goal was given up by Italy’s reserves in the final group stage match that had no implications.
Italy defeated Spain for the first time since 1994 and proved that they are once again a force to be reckoned with. The Italians are riding high despite a loss to Germany in a competitive match for the first time ever. Their campaign proved that after years of declining, Italy is finally one of the top teams in the world again. When the FIFA World Rankings were updated, Italy went up two spots and is now considered the tenth best team in the world. Spain went down two places as a result of their quick exit from the tournament.
The Copa America Centenario tournament had a few surprises as well. Brazil had an early exit from the tournament at the hands of Peru. Brazil is hanging on to their place in the FIFA World Rankings by a thread. They fell two places to be places as the ninth best team in the world. The United States surprisingly won their group outright and advanced to Semifinals of the tournament. The United States jumped six places up the rankings and is now ranked 25th.
Despite a brutal loss in the Copa America Centenario final and Lionel Messi retiring from international football, Argentina is still holds the number one spot in the FIFA World Rankings. In the Messi era, Argentina has never won a major tournament. This trophy curse still did not debunk Argentina as the most talented team in the world.
Chile did not move up or down the FIFA World Rankings and currently considered the fifth best team in the world. This is a surprise because if one team beats another team that is higher on the charts, it heavily factors into the math calculated to make a team move up. The Chileans definitely deserve to be ranked higher on the list after knocking of the best team in the world. The next tournament is the 2017 Confederations Cup, which includes the winners of each major tournament around the world.
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