Belgium has remained at the top of the FIFA global rankings for three years.
Belgium presently leads Brazil, England, France, Italy, Argentina, Portugal, Spain, Mexico, and Denmark after winning their past three international matches against Estonia, the Czech Republic, and Belarus.
For his part, Roberto Martinez has led the Belgian national team to 50 victory in 64 games, surpassing Guy Thys’ 49 triumphs in two stints as coach (1976-1989 and 1990-1901).
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Belgium have only competed in one major tournament during their three-year reign atop the rankings, last summer’s European Championship, where they were ousted in the quarter-finals by Italy.
Since 20 September 2018, the Red Devils have held pole position, having tasted victory for a few months in 2015.
To be sure, the Belgians finished 2021 with the tiniest of leads, a mere 2.1 points ahead of closest rivals Brazil. Nonetheless, it extends their tenure to three years and three months in the first place.
Prior to Belgium, the number of European countries have held the top rank in the FIFA/Coca-Cola Ranking. Germany topped the rankings in 1993 and 2014, France topped the rankings in 2001, and Spain topped the rankings from 2008 to 2013.
It would take years to find an official encounter in which the Red Devils did not score at least one goal. The last time they were held scoreless was in the 2018 FIFA World Cup RussiaTM semi-final, when they lost 1-0 to France. Since that defeat in St Petersburg on 10 July, Roberto Martinez’s players have scored in 42 straight outings.
How did Belgium rise to the top of the FIFA rankings?
In 2020, only 352 full internationals were played due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Not since 1987 (323 matches) had a calendar year had such a low number of games. Planet football, on the other hand, made up for lost time in 2021 by playing a record-breaking 1116 matches.
The national team is in that position primarily as a result of the outstanding run the team has enjoyed since Roberto Martnez took over as coach in 2016.
And, despite the number of games played varied significantly from year to year, the top-ranked team in the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking stayed constant! For the fourth consecutive year, Belgium (1st) finishes the calendar year in first place, but barely 2.1 points ahead of Brazil (2nd). France completes the podium for 2021 with a third place finish.
Canada (40th) is the year’s ‘Most Improved Team,’ having gained a total of 130.32 points during the last 12 months. Their run to the 2021 Gold Cup semi-finals, as well as their great performances in FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022TM qualifying, have played a significant role in their ascension.
Italy (6th + 115.77 points compared to December 2020) and Argentina (5th +108.51 points compared to December 2020), the winners of UEFA EURO 2020 and Copa America 2021, respectively, have also had their point totals climb significantly this year.
The same is true for the United States of America (11th, up 103.51 points from December 2020) and England (4th, up 85.52 points from December 2020).
Equatorial Guinea (114th + 59.78 points from December 2020) improved the most among African teams, while Saudi Arabia (51st + 81.71 points from December 2020) improved the most in Asia.
However, in terms of the last month, Indonesia is the most improved Asian team (164th + 11.13 points). Algeria (29th +3), winners of the FIFA Arab Cup 2021TM, made the most advancement in terms of positions, together with Qatar (48th +3), who finished third at the event, and Thailand (115th +3).
How long has Belgium held the top spot in the FIFA rankings?
Belgium is third in the list of teams that have spent the most time at the top of the FIFA Rankings. They have spent a combined 1352 days atop the global standings as of 31 December.
FIFA’s Most Recent Ranking
After a long period testing and analysing the best way to calculate the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking, a new model took effect in August 2018 after approval by the FIFA Council.
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