Malta slipped another place to 166th as the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking for June was published on Thursday. Malta was coming from a heavy 0-6 defeat to the Czech Republic and a narrow 1-2 loss to Austria in two friendly matches played in Austria over the past week.
The Malta national team remains 50th in Europe, just behind Luxembourg (146) and Moldova (165, down 3). The bottom three are Liechtenstein (168, up 5), San Marino (200) and Andorra (202). New FIFA members Gibraltar and Kosovo are not yet taken into account.
The next commitment for Malta is against Estonia in a friendly match on August 31st – the last friendly match before the European Qualifiers leading to the 2018 FIFA World Cup where Malta plays its first game against Scotland on September 4.
Meanwhile Argentina and Belgium held onto first and second place respectively on the latest FIFA/Cola-Cola World Ranking, while a flurry of international matches – largely among European teams focused on their final preparations for the UEFA EURO 2016 taking place from 10 June to 10 July – resulted in a number of shifts in the top 50 this month. Forty-five international friendlies were included in calculating the latest ranking, along with four 2018 FIFA World Cup™ qualification matches for the OFC region. Leading the changes were Colombia (3, plus 1) and Germany (4, plus 1) who leapfrogged Chile (5, minus 2) to reshuffle the order of the top five teams slightly.
Austria (10, up 1) meanwhile, returned to the Top 10 at the expense of England (11, minus 1) while elsewhere in Europe, Italy (12, plus 3), France (17, plus 4) and Ukraine (19, plus 3) all enjoyed positive momentum in the Top 20. Switzerland’s (15, minus 1) loss to Belgium on 28 May saw them slip one position into 15th, while Turkey’s defeat to England on 22 May cost them five places on the world ranking (18).
Northern Ireland secured 25th position this month, their best-ever performance since the official world ranking’s introduction in 1993.