FIFA has released their world ranking for September, and I’m puzzled. These rankings look even stranger than the BCS college football rankings. The United States is consistently ranked in the top 10, yet I don’t think anyone actually sees them as a lock for the quarterfinal of next year’s World Cup, which is how I’d interpret being ranked 7th. Certainly no one would expect the United States to beat England (who are ranked 11th) just now. And as you look closer, the results get stranger.
According to FIFA’s article, the ranking “is heavily shaped by the 89 FIFA World Cup qualifiers and nearly 40 friendly matches played last month.” Interesting then that Mexico, who was beaten soundly by the United States in one of those matches, maintained its 5th ranking, while the United States slid from 6th to 7th. And in beating Mexico, the United States qualified first from the CONCACAF region for the World Cup, ahead of Mexico, who, by the way, haven’t beaten the United States outside of Mexico City in close to a decade. Why then is Mexico consistently ranked ahead of the United States?