According to the latest FIFA rankings, Spain has returned to the top 10 while Argentina has maintained their position at the top (despite losing 23 points.)
Argentina played two games in September, one against Bolivia and the other against Mexico. They won 7-0 against the Bolivians but came to a draw against Mexico with both teams scoring two goals each.
Spain managed to make a return to the top 10 after winning both of their Euro 2016 Qualifier matches against Macedonia and Slovakia.
England are still undefeated in the Euro qualifiers, but they made no shift in the rankings table this month. They are still in the top 10, after winning both their matches in September, defeating San Marino 6-0 and Switzerland 2-0. English captain Wayne Rooney also beat Sir Bobby Charlton’s record of most goals scored for the country.
The biggest movers were two African teams: Liberia and South Sudan. The Liberians jumped a whopping 65 positions, while South Sudan went up by an impressive 54. Liberia is now tied with Nicaragua for 95th place.
Macedonia and Cyprus had the worst drop with both teams going down 28 spots. Macedonia was previously ranked 104 and went down to 132. Cyprus was previously in the top 100, but are now out, placing right above Aruba with 300 points.
India unfortunately dropped another 32 points and have gone from 155th down to 167th. The drop came after their 3-0 loss against Iran on September 8th.
Game In Review
India lost to Iran, who to their credit are the highest ranked Asian team on the FIFA rankings. Iran was placed 40th in the FIFA rankings and have previously qualified for four World Cup finals, including the 2014 edition in Brazil. Iran was the overwhelming favorite from the get go.
India came into the game with just one win out of their last five games, which could have contributed to low morale. The Blue Tigers really needed to bring their A game if they hoped to make the next round of 2018 World Cup qualifiers, as well as secure a slot in the 2019 Asian Championships.
Unfortunately, India lost their previous qualifiers to both Oman and Guam by identical 2-1 margins.
Iran’s coach Carlos Queroz refused to attach much significance to the FIFA rankings or the past results between the two countries. Before the game, Queroz stated, “I have great respect for India as opponents. And I don’t see the FIFA rankings as a parameter to judge. It is 11 versus 11 on the field tomorrow. Nothing less, nothing more!”
At a pre-match media conference on Monday, Queroz showed great sportsmanship towards the Indian team adding, “We are playing against a difficult opponent. We need three points and so do India. It’ll be tough match for both the teams. Our opponents (India) have families, friends and fans which is the same like us. They also want to win and so do we.”
Constantine as of late has been getting increasingly vocal in his criticism of the All India Football Federation’s (AIFF). He has been trying out various players in an effort to find the most effective combination. But since he took charge as the national coach earlier this year, Constantine has fielded 15 debutants in four matches, and the results haven’t been as productive as most would have hoped.
Chhetri knew Tuesday’s game was one of the “biggest matches” for him, and understood that it would be a difficult game for India. Before the game he stated, “This is the toughest game of my career. In the last 10 years, this is my second opportunity to play Iran.” He added, “It’s always difficult to play exactly the way you want when you play such high ranked team. We need to be fit and do our best.”
Unfortunately Chhetri’s optimism and focus didn’t get India a win, this time. But I’d put my money on the fact that this driven young player wouldn’t shy away from taking the team on again in the future.
For more information about Yogesh Joshee, you can visit his official profile.