December 21, 2011
LEADING THE WAY
Mexico tops CONCACAF for the year, followed by the U.S., Panama
Given how El Tri has performed in 2011, it should not be surprising that Mexico finished atop the FIFA rankings for CONCACAF teams, the world soccer governing body announced on Wednesday.
Mexico finished in 21st place, down a spot from the previous rankings. The Mexicans accrued 866 points.
El Tri captured the CONCACAF Gold Cup, rolling over the U.S. in the final, 4-2.
The United States (721) was second in 34th place, No. 3 Panama (589) was next at 49th place, followed by fourth-place Honduras (574) at 53rd place, fifth-place Jamaica (573) at 54th and No. 6 Costa Rica (495) at 65th.
World Cup champion Spain finished atop the entire rankings.
There was no movement among the top 19 teams after a month in which only six competitive international matches were played, all involving lower-ranked teams.
The Netherlands stayed in second place, followed Germany, Uruguay and England. Brazil, Portugal, Croatia, Italy and Argentina.
Bosnia-Herzegovina climbed three places as it reached its highest ranking at No. 20. Panama (49th), Estonia (57th) and American Samoa (186th) also hit their highest positions. American Samoa’s 18-place climb was due to its first World Cup qualifying win.
Wales was the best climber of the year, advancing 64 spots to 48th.
Ivory Coast remained Africa’s top team in 16th. Japan, at No. 19 overall, took the honors for Asia, with New Zealand at 119th place, was the best of Oceania sides.