By Momodou Jarju
The Gambia senior scorpions have jumped one place in the latest FIFA/Coca-Cola World Rankings released on Thursday, 23 December, 2021. The Gambia’s men’s team moved from 151 to 150 in the year-end ranking. The senior squad’s highest ranking was 65 in 2009, while their lowest was in 2017 on 179.
Gambia’s neighbours, Senegal, topped the African team of the year for the fourth time in a row, after moving up to 20th spot. Tunisia and Algeria complete the continent’s top teams’ podium on second and third best ranked teams.
Below is a comprehensive report culled from FIFA’s website:
Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, only 352 full internationals were played in 2020. Not since 1987 (323 matches) had so few games been played in a calendar year. By contrast, planet football made up for lost time in 2021 with a record breaking 1116 matches played.
And while the quantity of games changed radically from one year to the next, the top ranked team in the FIFA/ Coca-Cola World Ranking has remained the same! For the fourth year in a row, Belgium (1st) end the calendar year in pole position, albeit only just ahead of Brazil (2nd) by 2.1 points. France (3rd) complete the podium for 2021.
For their part, Canada (40th) are the year’s ‘Most Improved Side’ having picked up no fewer than 130.32 points over the last 12 months. Their journey to the semi-finals of the 2021 Gold Cup as well as impressive results in FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ qualifying have been major factors in their rise.
Winners of UEFA EURO 2020 and the Copa America 2021 respectively, Italy (6th + 115.77 points compared to December 2020) and Argentina (5th +108.51 points compared to December 2020), have also seen their points tally increase dramatically this year. The same goes for the USA (11th + 103.51 points compared to December 2020) and England (4th + 85.52 points compared to December 2020).
Equatorial Guinea (114th + 59.78 points compared to December 2020) made the most impressive progress among African teams, while Saudi Arabia (51st + 81.71 points compared to December 2020) did the same in Asia. However, just in terms of last month, the most improved Asian team are Indonesia (164th + 11.13 points).
Winners of the FIFA Arab Cup 2021™, Algeria (29th +3) jointly made the best progress in terms of places, along with Qatar (48th + 3), who finished third at the tournament, and Thailand (115th +3).
The next FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking will be published on 10 February 2022.