FIFA World Rankings and the Leaders

The FIFA World Ranking is a ranking scheme for men’s national teams in association football, presently ruled by Germany. The teams of the member nations of FIFA, football’s worldwide governing body, are ranked according to their game results with the most flourishing teams being ranked highest.

The system was launched in December 1992, and eight teams, including Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain, have controlled the top spot, of which Brazil have spent longest ranked at # 1. When the system started, Germany d?buted as the # 1 team following their long period of supremacy in which they had reached the three prior FIFA World Cup finals, ruling one of them.

Brazil took over the lead onward to the 1994 FIFA World Cup after winning eight and losing only one out of nine qualification games, while scoring twenty goals and conceding only four. Italy then ruled for a short time on the back of their own equally successful World Cup qualifying campaign, after which Germany recovered the number one spot.
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Brazil’s victory in their extended qualifying campaign brought them back to the lead for a quick period. Germany overtook again during the 1994 World Cup, until Brazil’s success in that competition gave them a huge lead that would hold up for almost seven years, until they were beaten by a formidable French team that snatched both the 1998 FIFA World Cup and the 2000 European Football Championship.
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Winning the 2002 FIFA World Cup placed Brazil to the top position, which they held until February 2007, when Italy snatched the top for the first time since 1993 after their win in Germany at the 2006 FIFA World Cup. Only a month later, Argentina replaced them, achieving the top position for the first time, but Italy reclaimed its spot in April. After their Copa Am?rica 2007 victory in July, Brazil went back to the top, but was toppled by Italy in September and Argentina in October.

In July 2008, Spain became number one for the first time, following its UEFA Euro victory in 2008. Brazil went for a sixth stint at the top in July 2009 after its 2009 Confederations Cup victory, and Spain recouped the title in November 2009 after winning all of its qualification matches for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Brazil once again returned to the top in April 2010. Following its 2010 World Cup success, Spain went back to number one and held on to it until August 2011, when The Netherlands snatched the top spot for the very first time, only to hand it over it the next month. In July 2014, Germany grabbed the lead once again, having conquered the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

In July 2015, Argentina became number one again for the first time since 2008, after reaching the finals of both the 2014 FIFA World Cup the 2015 Copa America . In November 2015, after ruling their Euro 2016 qualifying group, Belgium became the FIFA ranking leader for the first time until Argentina returned to the top in April 2016. 1 position for the first time since just before 2010 World Cup, but Germany snatched it away in July when it won the Confederations Cup.