Despite a 2-0 win over Lithuania and a narrow 0-1 defeat to Bulgaria last month, Malta slipped thirteen places in the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking which was released on Thursday. Malta is now ranked 158th.
In Europe, Malta is still third from bottom ahead of San Marino (192) and Andorra (202). Lying just ahead of Malta are Belarus (100, down 20), FYR Macedonia (105, down 5), Azerbaijan (108, up 7), Lithuania (110, down 14), Moldova (124), Kazakhstan (142, down 9), Luxemmbourg (146, down 15), Liechtenstein (147, down 18) and Georgia (153, down 14).
Malta’s next match is against Italy in Firenze on September 3 and against Azerbaijan at Ta’ Qali three days later.
Meanwhile Argentina are the new leaders of the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking. Despite losing to Chile on penalties in the final of the Copa América, the Albiceleste have leapfrogged over Belgium and Germany to take the top spot in the world ranking for the first time in seven years. Meanwhile the newly crowned South American champions Chile have moved up eight positions, only just missing out on a top-ten ranking at number 11. New entries in the top ten are Romania (8th, up 4), England (9th, up 6) and Wales, whose win over Belgium in the EURO 2016 qualifiers has seen them surge 12 positions to tenth place.
Twenty-eight teams have managed to climb by more than ten positions, including Belize (118th, up 37), Copa América semi-finalists Paraguay (56th, up 29), the Faroe Islands (74th, up 28) and Venezuela (45th, up 27). Other teams achieving their best-ever rankings this month alongside Wales, the Faroe Islands and Belize are Slovakia (15th, up 2), Austria (15th, up 5), Iceland (23rd, up 14), Albania (36th, up 15), the Philippines (124th, up 13) and Guam (154th, up 20).
The volatility of the ranking this month is due in part to the many matches that have been played: with 26 Copa América matches, 99 qualifying matches for the World Cup or continental tournaments, and 88 friendlies, the number of matches taken into account has almost doubled the amount for the year so far (477 matches in total).