World football governing body, FIFA, on Thursday, December 10 published its year-end rankings of national teams as the Super Eagles finished 2020 as the 35th best team in the world and they are joint-fourth in the confederation ranking along with Morocco, with both countries accumulating 1,474 points.
Gernot Rohr’s team played four matches this calendar year, drawing three and losing the other – a friendly against African champions Algeria two months ago.
The top three African countries remain unchanged with Senegal at number one, followed by Tunisia and Algeria.
Nigeria’s three rivals in the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers in the shape of Benin, Sierra Leone and Lesotho sit in the 83rd, 116th and 143rd positions respectively, while World Cup qualifiers foes Cape Verde, Central African Republic and Liberia sit 81st, 114th and 152nd respectively.
In the global ranking, the top five remain unchanged, with Belgium leading the way followed by France, Brazil, England and Portugal.
Other notable climbers this year were Ecuador (56th, + 41 points compared to December 2019), Malta (176th, + 32 points), Brazil (3rd, + 31 points), and Equatorial Guinea (134th, + 31 points). Burundi (138th), meanwhile, picked up 29 points and made the most significant move in terms of places, ascending 13 positions.
Just like most of 2020, December saw a low number of games.
Consequently, there is little movement to report other than a one-place rise for Qatar (58th, + 1), host of the next FIFA World Cup, following their defeat of Bangladesh (186th, – 2) in a delayed AFC qualifying fixture for Qatar 2022.
Ethiopia (146th, + 1), Djibouti (184, + 1) and Dominica (184th, + 1) all advanced one place and will be hoping to build on that progress in 2021.
The next FIFA/ Coca-Cola World Ranking will be published on February 18, 2021.