Malta ends 2011 in 156th place

Malta ended the calendar year 2011 in the 156th place and 51st among European countries in thFIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking list which was published on Wednesday.

This ranking is eight places better than twelve months ago but the national team still lies well behind other European countries with the five countries lying just ahead of Malta being Cyprus (127), Luxembourg (128), Liechtenstein (132), Moldova (136) and Kazakhstan (138). Andorra and San Marino, on the other hand, are joint-206th.

This year, Malta played six European Championship qualifiers and two friendly matches. Malta defeated the Central African Republic 2-1 and held Switzerland in a goalless draw in the friendly matches. The team lost five of the Euro qualifiers – three at home and two away, earning the only point in the group in a 1-1 draw against Georgia at Ta’ Qali in September.

Malta will now play a friendly match against Liechtenstein on February 29 and another one in mid-August before the 2014 FIFA World Cup campaign kicks-off with a home game against Armenia on September 7 and an away clash with Italy four days later.

Meanwhile the last edition of the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking for this year brings very few changes with it.

World and European champions Spain remain unchallenged at the top of the table, followed by the Netherlands, Germany and Uruguay, who are all still competing in an exciting head-to-head battle for second place. As the top team at year-end, Spain are the Team of the Year for the fourth year in a row.

The title of Best Mover of the Year is claimed by Wales (48th, up 2) who, with 330 points, won the most points in 2011. The Welshmen find themselves back in the top 50 thanks to their outstanding performances in the second half of the year, with wins over Montenegro, Switzerland and Bulgaria in the EURO 2012 qualifiers. December saw the following teams achieve their highest position ever since the introduction of the world ranking: Bosnia-Herzegovina (20th, up 3), Panama (49th, up 2), Estonia (57th, up 1) and American Samoa (186th, up 18), who claimed their first-ever win in a World Cup qualifying match.

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