Victory at the World Cup means Argentina move up in the FIFA rankings, but even Lionel Messi’s heroics at Qatar 2022 cannot earn top spot.
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 beat 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.
Despite it proving fifth time lucky for talisman Messi, it is Argentina’s nearest rivals Brazil who top the world rankings at the end of the year.
The Selecao were knocked out in the quarter-finals after losing on penalties to Croatia, but Tite’s side hold on to their place at the top.
It ends a run of four consecutive years in which Belgium have finished the calendar year as the world’s top-ranked country in men’s international football, with the Red Devils dropping to fourth place.
Their relegation allows France to move up a place in the rankings, sitting third behind Argentina, while England round out the top five in an unchanged position.
A shock loss to Morocco means Spain slip to 10th in the list with the African nation in 11th, while Croatia have a big lead and are seventh at the expense of Denmark.
Indeed, Denmark suffered one of the biggest drops, down to 18th place, with the Netherlands, Italy and Portugal rounding out the rest of the top tier.
Other countries to drop down the rankings after poor World Cups include Germany, Uruguay and Wales, but there are reinforcements for Japan, Australia and Cameroon after impressive performances.