Ranking slump affects England hopes

05 July 2013 09:16

The World Cup hopes of Roy Hodgson's England side could be affected after the team dropped to a five-year low of 15th place in FIFA's rankings.

The rankings are important because they determine seeding positions in the draw for the World Cup finals - in 2010 in South Africa, Fabio Capello's side were ranked seventh and were selected as one of the eight top seeds meaning they avoided the likes of Italy, Brazil and Spain in the group stage.

Should Hodgson's men qualify for Brazil, then it now looks certain they would have to settle for being among the second seeds. Under the last ranking, even the Ivory Coast and Bosnia-Herzegovina are above England.

The fall in England's world status comes at the end of a difficult season for Hodgson, with a series of draws against lower-ranked opponents in World Cup qualifiers leaving the national side by no means certain of making it to the finals in Brazil next summer.

It is even more of a shock for Hodgson given that it was only in September that England were basking in their highest-ever ranking of third in the world.

The national team has been ranked lower in the past, with a low point of 16th in early 2001. When Terry Venables was manager in early 1996, England were at an all-time low of 27 but that was an artificial position because as Euro 96 hosts they did not play in any competitive qualifiers.

In the latest rankings, Scotland have soared 24 places to 50th, the Republic of Ireland have dropped three spots to 44th and Wales are down a place to 46th. Northern Ireland are up three places to 111th.

Brazil, meanwhile, whose ranking had suffered by not playing qualifiers ahead of hosting next year's World Cup, have gone back into the top 10 following their Confederations Cup triumph, up 13 places to ninth.

Beaten Confederation Cup finalists Spain retain top ranking ahead of Germany. Colombia are surprisingly ranked third thanks to some impressive results in the World Cup qualifiers. Belgium have made it into the top 10 for the first time ever.

In the women's rankings England are up one place to seventh, jointly with Canada, while the USA retain top spot. Scotland's women's team have risen two places to 21st.

Source: PA