Following a 1-1 draw in a friendly match against Estonia away from home and a disappointing 1-5 defeat to Scotland in the first match from the European Qualifiers, Malta retained the 176th place in the latest edition of the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking but is now 51st in Europe as Kosovo climbed no less than twenty-two places to 168th.
Lying just ahead of Malta are Estonia (130, down 13), Azerbaijan (133, up 3), Georgia (137, down 19), Luxembourg (145), FYR Macedonia (146, down 8), Moldova (161, up 4) and Kosovo (168, up 22). Behind Malta are Liechtenstein (182), San Marino (201, down 1), Andorra (203) and Gibraltar (205).
Next month Malta plays another two matches in the European Qualifiers, facing England and Lithuania in two games away from home. England is ranked 12th and Lithuania 117th.
Photo: Copyright © Jonathan Bugeja
The large number of qualifying fixtures for continental competitions (26 matches) and the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ (61 matches) over September is reflected in significant movement in the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking. Despite the shifts up and down the ranking, however, Argentina and Belgium remain fixed in first and second place respectively, cementing their positions at the summit of the World Ranking for another month. Elsewhere in the top five, Germany (3, up 1) and Colombia (4, down 1) traded places while a rejuvenated Brazil, under new coach Tite, moved into joint fourth place thanks largely due to victories against Colombia and Ecuador in World Cup qualifiers. A little further down, Uruguay (9, up 3) and Wales (10, up 1) muscled their way into the top ten at the expense of Spain (11, down 3) and Italy (13, down 3).
While Brazil are the month’s biggest points scorers, Bolivia climbed furthest (75, up 35), followed by Malawi (99, up 28), Faroe Islands (111, up 24) and the Dominican Republic (114, up 24)
The two most recent member associations to join FIFA, Gibraltar and Kosovo, participated in their first ever World Cup preliminary matches in September. With only two A-games to their name in ranking history, Kosovo (168, up 22) were the fifth-biggest climbers this month. In contrast, Gibraltar (205) secured no points from their two matches, the first of which was against newly crowned European champions Portugal (7, down 1).