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2001 FIFA World Rankings 2002 2003
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England's FIFA World Rankings 2002
Date 16 January 13 February

20 March

17 April 15 May 3 July 14 August 18 September 23 October 20 November 18 December
Rank 10 10 12 11 12 8 7 9 6 6 7
Points 712 709 704 698 694 728 728 718 731 734 734
Change/Last =0 =0 -2 +1 -1 +4 +1 -2 +3 =0 -1
Change/Year +7 +7 +4 +3 +2 +6 +8 =0 +3 +4 +3

England began the year where they ended the last, in 10th place, up seven places from last year's January ranking, thanks to the turnaround in their fortunes under coach Sven-Göran Eriksson, and they remained there in February.  They did not play during the period reflected by those rankings.  

Despite their impressive 1-1 away draw with Netherlands in February, they fell two spots to 12th in the March ranking as Germany and Yugoslavia jumped ahead of them.  Yet, in the wake of their 2-1 home loss to Italy in late March, they climbed a spot to 11th in the April ranking, jumping over Germany, who fell from 10th to 12th after beating the U.S.A. at home, 4-2.  According to FIFA, "The reduced importance in the ranking calculation of matches played last year when the World Cup qualifiers were reaching their climax explains why more teams lose points than gain them in the current pecking order."  Paradoxically, at least on the face of it, England fell a spot to 12th in the May ranking, trading places with Germany, although they had drubbed fellow World Cup finalist Paraguay 4-0 at home in April.  No ranking was released in June because the World Cup final tournament occupied the entire month.

England's 6th place performance at the World Cup finals thrust them up four places to 8th in the next ranking in July, the highest level they had achieved since holding 5th place under manager Glenn Hoddle just before World Cup 1998.  They gained 51.6 ranking points for their 3-0 World Cup victory over Denmark alone, a total FIFA hailed as "highly elusive."   And although they remained idle, they rose another spot to seventh, level with Portugal, in the August ranking, as older results were discarded from the ranking calculations.  

But after their 1-1 home draw with Portugal, they fell two spots to 9th in the September ranking as both Turkey, their European Championship 2002 group rival, and the U.S.A. leaped past them to achieve their highest ever rankings.  Turkey's rise, on the heels of an impressive 3-0 home win over Slovakia in a Euro 2004 qualifier, resulted from two factors: competitive matches are given more ranking points than friendlies and, of course, victories get more points than draws.  The U.S.A. had been idle during the ranking period and must therefore have benefited more than England did when older results were discarded from the ranking calculations.  

The tables were turned next time around after England returned to competitive play.  Despite the unimpressive away win against Slovakia and the shocking home draw with FYR Macedonia in their opening Euro 2004 qualifying campaign matches, England climbed three spots to 6th in the October ranking, level with Mexico, jumping over the U.S.A., which remained idle, and rival Turkey, which won at home against Macedonia and away against Liechtenstein.  And, although idle, like most of the world's teams, they took over sole possession of 6th place in the November ranking, pulling slightly ahead of Mexico.  England's 6th place October and November rankings were the highest achieved under Eriksson, approaching the Hoddle team's 4th and 5th place rankings of late 1997 and early 1998.

But England remained idle while most  of the rest of the world's teams played friendlies later in November.  Netherlands, on the strength of a 3-1 away victory against Germany, climbed  from 10th  to  6th,  supplanting England, which  sank to 7th in the December rankings.  FIFA's end-of-year rankings are critical because  they may well  be used  to seed the teams at World Cup final draws, and even a difference of a ranking spot or two can make the difference  between  heading a World Cup group as  top-seed  or  becoming one of the lower-seeded  teams at risk to be drawn into a  "group  of death," as England were at World Cup 2002 (although only the last three end-of-year rankings were used then).  With a friendly victory against decent opposition in November, England might well have maintained 6th place or perhaps even climbed  above Argentina, which beat Japan away,  2-0, and Germany, demolished at home by Netherlands.  Instead, yet another concession was made to the top Premiership clubs, always hostile to friendly matches, and England lost ground which might hurt them later on.

The bright side is that England finished in the top 10 for the fifth time since the rankings began  in 1992 and for a second year in succession, only the second time they had accomplished that.  Their 7th place in December was the third highest end-of-year ranking they had achieved, behind only 1992's 5th place and 1997's 4th place.  For the last half of the year,  England were ranked among the top 10 teams  and they appear  to be well  on  the way to entrenching themselves once again as one of the world's top-ranked teams.  

 FIFA World Rankings 2002 - Top 30 Countries
Date
Rank
16 January 13 February

20 March

17 April 15 May 3 July 14 August 18 September 23 October 20 November 18 December
1 France 812 France 809 France 807 France 810 France 802 Brazil 852 Brazil 859 Brazil 858 Brazil 855 Brazil 857 Brazil 856
2 Arg 801 Arg 799 Arg 793 Bra 787 Bra & Arg 784 Arg & Fra 784 Arg 781 Fra & Esp 774 Fra 790 Fra 787 Fra 787
3 Bra 793 Bra 791 Bra 788 Arg 786 Esp 775 Esp 779 Esp 779 Esp 779
4 Por 741 Por 738 Ita 738 Col 731 Col 728 Esp 774 Fra 772 Ger 770 Ger 763 Ger 763 Ger  761
5 Col 739 Col 737 Col 735 Por 726 Por 726 Ger 765 Ger 764 Arg 760 Arg 753 Arg 741 Arg 751
6 Ita 734 Ita 731 Por 733 Ita 722 Ita 717 Mex 739 Mex 733 Mex 730 England & Mex 731 England 734 Ned 746
7 Esp 730 Esp 727 Esp 728 Mex& Esp 715 Mex 716 Por 731 England & Por 728 Tur 721 Mex 731 England 734
8 Ned 722 Ned & Mex 720 Mex 719 Esp 713 England 728 Usa 720 Tur 727 Tur 728 Mex 732
9 Mex 714 Ned 718 Ned 714 Ned 703 Col 725 Ita & Usa 714 England 718 Ned 726 Usa 720 Tur 729
10 England 712 England 709 Ger 710 Yug 702 Yug 702 Ita 720 Ita 717 Usa 719 Ned 719 Usa 723
11 Yug 710 Yug 707 Yug 708 Eng 698 Ger 695 Usa 712 Tur 707 Por 712 Ita & Por 713 Ita 710 Por 710
12 Ger 707 Ger 704 England 704 Ger 697 England 694 Tur 707 Den 703 Ned 708 Por 709 Den 707
13 Par 691 Usa 696 Usa 702 Usa 694 Usa 690 Den 704 Irl 699 Den 703 Den 703 Den 705 Ita 705
14 Cze 689 Par 689 Cze 692 Cze & Par 678 Rom 675 Irl 699 Ned 693 Irl 701 Irl 695 Irl 699 Irl 697
15 Rom 686 Cze 686 Par 685 Irl & Cze 674 Ned 697 Col & Yug 688 Cmr 682 Cze & Yug 690 Cze 694 Cze 687
16 Swe 676 Rom 684 Swe 683 Rom 673 Yug 689 Par 680 Yug 687 Cmr 685
17 Den & Irl 672 Swe 679 Rom 678 Swe 671 Cmr 672 Cmr 680 Cmr 682 Cze 676 Bel 688 Cmr 685 Bel 682
18 Cmr 673 Irl 673 Cmr & Irl 670 Par 671 Par 679 Bel 677 Col 675 Par 683 Bel 682 Par 679
19 Cro 668 Irl & Den 670 Cmr & Den 672 Swe 665 Bel 678 Par 674 Bel & Yug 672 Cam 682 Par 681 Yug 678
20 Bel 666 Den & Uru 660 Den 657 Swe 674 Swe 673 Kor 667 Kor 671 Kor 669
21 Rus 665 Cro 667 Bel 665 Cro 655 Cze 670 Cze 664 Kor 667 Rom 665 Rom 662 Crc 652
22 Uru 664 Bel 664 Uru 661 Bel 657 Tur 654 Kor 664 Kor 663 Swe 662 Col 661 Jpn 654 Jpn & Rus 650
23 Tur 663 Rus 662 Cro 659 Cro 653 Bel 653 Uru 662 Jpn 658 Uru 655 Rus & Swe 655 Uru 653
24 Usa 662 Uru 662 Rus 657 Rus & Tur 650 Uru 652 Jpn 658 Uru 657 Rus 652 Rus & Swe 652 Rom & Swe 649
25 Hon, Nor & Svn 650 Tur 661 Tur 656 Svn 649 Rom 657 Crc 655 Crc & Rom 651 Uru 653
26 Crc 649 Hon 649 Hon 649 Hon 647 Crc 656 Cro 651 Crc & Jpn 652 Crc 650 Nor 648
27 Hon & Svn 648 Crc 648 Crc 645 Nga & Rus 644 Cro 653 Rom 645 Jpn 648 Nga 643 Sen 646
28 Tun 649 Svn 646 Svn 644 Rus 644 Nga 640 Svn 642 Nga & Nor 642 Nor 641 Uru 643
29 Irn 641 Tun & Nor 647 Tun 643 Nga & Tun 640 Crc 643 Nga 642 Sen 638 Cro & Nga 641 Sen 640 Nga 642
30 Crc 635 Nor 642 Irn & Tun 635 Hon 640 Rus 637 Rsa 640 Col 639 Rsa 636
       
total countries 203 countries 203 countries 203 countries 203 countries 203 countries 203 countries 203 countries 203 countries 203
countries
203 countries 203 countries

Notes

FIFA named Brazil, beaten only once, its "Team of the Year." Since 2001 the award has gone "to the team that notches up the seven matches of the year reaping the overall highest average number of points during the year." Prior to that, it went to the team "topping the final ranking list of the year."  Brazil would have taken the award by that measure, too.

FIFA's "Best Mover of the Year" award went to Senegal, which amassed more than 100 points and climbed 38 places  in the rankings, from 65th to 27th.  Wales was runner-up.  Although Wales gained more points and climbed more places in the rankings (48, up from 100th to 52nd) than Senegal, they began in a much  lower position than Senegal.  FIFA has explained that this award "is not based simply on the biggest jump in the number of points or in the number of places up the ranking ladder.  What also has to be taken into consideration is the fact that it becomes progressively harder for a team to earn points the more it already has.  Thus to decide on the 'Best Mover of the Year' a calculation is performed that multiplies the number of points a team has at the end of the year [x] by the number it has earned during the year [y].  The team with the highest index obtained in this way wins the award."

Further Information

The FIFA website contains the complete world rankings from their inception and a description of the method by which the rankings are calculated.

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