Despite not playing any matches after the back-to-back defeats to the Czech Republic and Austria in friendly matches last May, Malta fell ten places to the 176th place in the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking. This the worst ever position for the Malta national team since falling to 173rd in July 2011.
Malta is still ranked 50th in Europe as Liechtenstein fell fourteen places to 182nd while newcomers Kosovo are ranked 190th. San Marino and Andorra are ranked 200th and 203rd respectively. Just ahead of Malta are Moldova who lost seven places to 166th.
Argentina remain at the summit of the July FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking, but only after a tumultuous month of action that resulted in plenty of movement further down. The impact of three recent major international tournaments – the OFC Nations Cup, Copa America Centenario and UEFA EURO 2016 – is certainly plain to see in a table in which Kosovo are ranked for the first time. A total of 228 ‘A’ internationals contributed to the new order, with those big events in Oceania, Europe and the Americas especially important in propelling nations upwards.
New Zealand emerged as the month’s biggest climbers, moving up a whopping 54 places to 93rd on the back of an OFC Nations Cup victory that both qualified the All Whites for the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup and furthered their FIFA World Cup™ qualifying ambitions. Portugal will also be heading to Russia 2017 after their shock EURO 2016 triumph, an achievement that resulted in them leapfrogging Spain and Brazil into sixth position.
There was also some small consolation for France, Portugal’s vanquished final opponents, who were among several teams to profit from impressive EURO campaigns. While Les Bleus climbed ten places to a new position of seventh, Poland rose 11 to 16th and there were 12-place jumps for both Iceland and Croatia, who now sit 22nd and 15th respectively. Surprise semi-finalists Wales fared better still, picking up 291 ranking points – this month’s biggest tally – to advance 15 positions to 11th.
Yet despite all this activity, the ranking’s top five remains unchanged, with Argentina, Belgium, Colombia, Germany and Chile – all of whom reached the latter stages of their respective tournaments – doing enough to hold off the pretenders below.