Despite coming off a 2-1 win in a friendly against Ghana, Bruce Arena and the United States Men’s National Team fell to the second-lowest FIFA ranking in men’s national team history on Thursday.
The USMNT was ranked at No. 35 in the newest FIFA World Rankings, however, this comes at a time where the United States seems to have plenty of momentum and young stars for the future as the Gold Cup start approaches.
The team’s lowest ranking came in the summer of 2012, just a year before the team won the only Gold Cup of previous coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s tenure. Of course, the world rankings do not affect the game directly, but it is concerning for USMNT fans to see their nation ranked lower than teams like Senegal and Tunisia.
The U.S. is the third-highest rated CONCACAF team in the newest rankings, behind Mexico (No. 16) and Costa Rica (No. 26). Again, though, the USMNT hasn’t lost since Arena took over in November, and his priority is keeping a safe position in CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying, so the Gold Cup is a chance to get young players some experience and see if a couple of those fringe players break out during the tournament.
Arena led the U.S. to their best FIFA World Ranking in April of 2006, then that same squad crashed out of the World Cup with a disappointing showing in the group stage a couple of months later. There’s not necessarily a correlation between a team’s FIFA ranking and its tournament performance.
Rising in the FIFA World Rankings is never the top priority for any team, but the U.S certainly hopes to boost that position once the Gold Cup is over.
The top 10 of the World Rankings:
The biggest story from the rest of the FIFA rankings was Germany’s dethroning of Brazil at No. 1. The Germans took over the top spot after an impressive showing en route to winning the Confederations Cup with a squad largely made up of “B” and “C” players. Poland earned its highest ranking in history at No. 6, while both Iceland and Northern Ireland also achieved their highest rankings at No. 19 and No. 22.