Canada jumps six places to No. 69 in the latest FIFA rankings. (Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS)

Canada on the rise in FIFA rankings, cracks all-important top six in CONCACAF

Canada climbed six places to No. 69 in the latest FIFA rankings, leapfrogging El Salvador to crack the top six in the CONCACAF region.

The move, powered by a famous 2-0 upset win over the U.S. on Oct. 15, puts the Canadian men on track to make the Hex — the most direct route of World Cup qualifying out of North and Central America and the Caribbean.

The top six CONCACAF teams, come the rankings after the June international window, will make the Hex round. They will play a round-robin with the top three finishers qualifying for Qatar 2022 and the fourth moving on to a playoff.

Teams ranked No. 7 through 35 will have to slog it put through a longer process with only the last team standing having a chance to qualify — and that through two playoffs.

Canada stood seventh in the region when the new CONCACAF qualifying procedure was announced.

With 1,339 points — a rise of 17 points — it now holds a slim three-point edge over No. 73 El Salvador (1,336) and 16 points over No. 76 Curacao (1,323). It had trailed El Salvador by five points in the last rankings.

The Canadians are 29 points behind No. 63 Honduras (1,368), 97 behind No. 47 Costa Rica (1,436) and 102 in arrears of No. 45 Jamaica (1,441).

Canada plays the U.S. again on Nov. 15 in Orlando. A win or tie and it will win its CONCACAF Nations League A group, which would move John Herdman’s team into the tournament’s final four next June with more valuable ranking points up for grabs.

Mexico (1,613) continues to top CONCACAF, moving up one place to No. 11. The Americans (1,530) remain No. 2 in the region but dropped two places to No. 23 on the world ladder.

There were no changes in the top four with Belgium (1,755 points) ahead of France, Brazil and England. Uruguay climbed one spot to No. 5 at the expense of No. 6 Portugal. Croatia moved up one place to No. 7 followed by Spain (down one), Argentina (up one) and Colombia (down one).

Team on the rise include Ukraine (No. 22, up three), Japan (No. 28, up three), Turkey (No. 32, up four) and Russia (No. 37, up five).

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