Argentina’s World Cup triumph has moved them up to second in FIFA’s world rankings, but Lionel Messi’s Golden Ball-winning exploits were not enough for top spot.
La Albiceleste defeated France on penalties in a thrilling final that ended 3-3 after extra time at Qatar 2022, ending their 36-year wait for the sport’s biggest prize.
But despite it proving fifth time lucky for talisman Messi, it is Argentina’s closest rivals Brazil who top the world rankings at the end of the year.
The Selecao were knocked out in the quarter-finals following a penalty shoot-out loss to Croatia, but Tite’s side hold on to their place at the summit.
It ends a run of four consecutive years when Belgium have ended the calendar year as the world’s top-ranked nation in men’s international football, with the Red Devils dropping to fourth.
Their descent allows France to move a place up the ladder, to sit third behind Argentina, while England round out the top five in an unchanged position.
A shock loss to Morocco sees Spain slip down the list to 10th, with the African nation in 11th, while Croatia enjoy a major bump to go seventh at Denmark’s expense.
Indeed, Denmark suffer one of the biggest drops, down to 18th, with the Netherlands, Italy and Portugal rounding out the rest of the upper echelons.
Other countries enduring slides down the rankings after poor World Cups include Germany, Uruguay and Wales, but there are boosts for Japan, Australia and Cameroon after impressive performances.
On top of the world and up to second in the #FIFARanking
Here’s how the top 10 nations look after #Qatar2022
— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) December 22, 2022
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