The Super Eagles of Nigeria dropped nine places to 70th position in the July edition of the world ranking released by the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA), earlier today.
The Super Eagles amassed a total of 514 points, as did Republic of the Congo (Congo-Brazzaville) who are joint-70th with Nigeria. Consequently, the Super Eagles are now ranked 16th on the African Continent- alongside Congo.
How Did Nigeria’s Group B Rivals Fare?
Last month, Nigeria was drawn in Group B alongside Algeria, Cameroon and Zambia in the third round of the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualification, with all but Zambia well above Nigeria in the latest ranking.
The Fennec Foxes of Algeria remained 32nd in the World as well as the best team in Africa while Cameroon climbed five spots to 53rd in the World and 7th on the continent.
The Chipolopolo of Zambia, like Nigeria, fell nine places, but to a more lowly position of 88th in the World and 23rd in Africa.
Nigeria’s Lowest Position Since 2000
In the previous ranking released on the 2nd of June, the Super Eagles enjoyed their biggest rise (6 places) and highest position (61st) in 2016. However, the current ranking for Nigeria is in contrast with their rise and improvement in June’s edition.
The nine-place drop by the Super Eagles in the latest ranking represents the biggest drop for the three-time African Champions since July 2015 when they fell 14 places to 57th in the world.
In addition, Nigeria’s current position (70th) is the lowest the Super Eagles have ranked since January 2000 when they were 76th in the world.
Also, in what is an interesting coincidence, the last time Nigeria ranked 70th in the FIFA ranking was also in the month of July but seventeen years ago (1999).
Across Continents: Wales Rise After Euro 2016 Exploits
Wales constituted one of the biggest surprises of Euro 2016 reaching the semi-final with a memorable come-from-behind win against Belgium. Their exploits at the European Championship helped them climb 15 places to 13th, two places above England.
European Champions, Portugal climbed two spots onto 6th, one spot above beaten finalists, France who rose 10 spots to 7th.
Argentina, Belgium, Colombia, Germany and Chile remained unchanged in the top five spots respectively while Spain, Brazil and Italy complete the top ten in 8th, 9th and 10th respectively.
New Zealand were the biggest movers in the latest ranking, rising 54 spots onto 93rd while Belize slumped 50 places to 164th to record the biggest drop in July’s edition of the ranking.
The next edition of the ranking will be published on 11 August, 2016.
@zino_orowor (Sports Writer & Analyst | Football Commentator à la Mike Ingham)