Fuelled by wins over Mexico and Costa Rica, Canada has risen eight places to No. 40 in the latest FIFA world rankings, matching its highest-ever position.
The Canadian men also hit No. 40 in December 1996. FIFA, which starting the rankings in 1992, revamped its rating formula in 2018.
Canada started the year at No. 72 but has steadily risen thanks to a 13-2-4 record in 2021 that has seen John Herdman’s team top the ongoing final round of World Cup qualifying in CONCACAF, which covers North and Central America and the Caribbean.
Canada’s lone losses have been to the U.S. and Mexico at the Gold Cup. The Canadians have outscored their opposition 55-11 this year.
Canada was 94th, sandwiched between Gabon and the Faroe Islands, when Herdman took over as coach in January 2018. Back then the Canadian men ranked 10th among CONCACAF countries in the FIFA rankings, looking up at Mexico, the U.S., Costa Rica, Jamaica, Panama, Haiti, Honduras, Curacao, and Trinidad and Tobago.
Today they stand third in the region.
World Cup qualifying losses to the U.S. and Canada this month saw Mexico fall five spots to No. 14 while the U.S. rose one place to No. 12 to take over top spot in CONCACAF.
The top three were unchanged with Belgium leading Brazil and France, albeit with a much smaller points cushion. England and Argentina both moved up one place, to No. 4 and 5 respectively, with Italy dropping two rungs to No. 6. Spain and Portugal were unchanged at No. 7 and No. 8. Denmark and the Netherlands completed the top 10, with both moving up one position at the expense of Mexico.
No. 11 Germany and No. 13 Switzerland also vaulted over the Mexicans.
Equatorial Guinea (No. 114, up 11 ), Ecuador (No. 46, up nine) and Togo (No. 125, up nine) were the biggest movers of the month. Central African Republic was the biggest loser (No. 130, down 15) although Mexico suffered the biggest drop in points, down 34.16.
Of the 13 countries already qualified for Qatar 2022, 11 are ranked in the top 15. Serbia (No. 23, up two) and host Qatar (No. 51, down five) are the other qualified teams.
In February 2002, Canada jumped 20 places to No. 73 in the rankings, courtesy of a third-place finish at the Gold Cup. At the time, it marked Canada’s biggest climb up the world soccer ladder since winning the 2000 Gold Cup, when it rose 24 spots to 61st overall.
In June 2007, Canada climbed 38 places from No. 94 to No. 56 as it progressed to the Gold Cup semifinals. It reached No. 52 the following month.
Canada’s lowest-ever ranking was 122nd, in both August and October 2014.
The Canadian women, gold medallists at the recent Tokyo Olympics, are currently ranked sixth by FIFA.
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This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 19, 2021.
Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press