After an impressive AFC Asian Cup qualification campaign, the Indian men’s football team gained two places to jump to 104 in the latest FIFA world rankings released on Thursday.
India are placed just below New Zealand (103), who missed out on a 2022 FIFA World Cup spot after losing to Costa Rica 0-1 in the intercontinental play-off earlier this month.
India’s ranking among Asian Football Confederation members, however, still remained static at 19th place. Iran retained the top spot among AFC countries at 23rd spot.
Igor Stimac’s side had their best ever Asian Cup qualification campaign earlier this month when they won all three of their league matches to top group D and secure a place in the 24-team finals to be held in 2023.
India opened their qualifying campaign against Cambodia and managed to beat them 2-0. They followed it up by defeating Afghanistan 2-1 and won their final match against Hong Kong 4-0. Captain Sunil Chhetri scored in all the matches and ended up with a goal tally of four, the highest in the third round qualifying matches.
This was India’s fifth overall qualification and the first time the country qualified for back-to-back Asian Cups.
In the overall rankings, Brazil remained on top, three months after taking the top spot from Belgium, who are placed second. Argentina jumped one place to third at the expense of France, who paid the price for four winless games in the UEFA Nations League.
England, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal and Denmark complete the top-10.
The next FIFA world ranking will be out on August 25.