Following the two heavy defeats to Croatia and Slovakia in the last two matches from the European Qualifiers leading to the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Malta dropped two places and is now 175th in the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking as published on Friday.
Malta stays fifth from bottom in Europe, lying ahead of Moldova (181), Liechtenstein (191, down 1), Gibraltar (203, down 5) and San Marino (210). Just ahead of Malta is Andorra (155, down 2).
There are no scheduled fixtures so far but Malta should play two friendly matches in March before the UEFA Nations League commitments which kick-off in June. The UEFA Nations League draws will be held on December 16.
Meanwhile November’s 120 qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, coupled with 25 friendlies also held this month, have brought the total number of internationals in 2021 to 1,058. And just as they have done since 2018, Belgium (1, unchanged) end the calendar year at the summit. The Red Devils came close to surrendering top spot to their nearest pursuers Brazil (2, unchanged), who were unable to take advantage of Belgium’s draw in Wales after a stalemate of their own against Argentina. Next come France (3, unchanged), whose two qualifying wins this month moved them closer to the leading pair, themselves only separated by 2.1 points.
Closing in on a podium position are England (4, +1), who climbed a rung on the ladder thanks to Italy’s (6, -2) travails in the qualifiers for Qatar 2022. Down to sixth in the global standings, the reigning European champions now also have Argentina (5, +1) in front of them.
Another country heading in the wrong direction are Mexico (14, -5), whose fall of five places saw them cede their Top 10 spot to a Netherlands (10, +1) side fresh from World Cup qualification.