Qatar’s FIFA ranking shoots up after Asian Cup win; First in Gulf region, fifth in Asia
When Qatar’s young national football team, under the tutelage of Spaniard Felix Sanchez, braved heavy odds to surprisingly clinch the AFC Asian Cup trophy, the world sat up and took notice.
The country’s exploits on the football field have paid rich dividends in terms of world ranking, with Qatar climbing 38 spots to 55th position in the world, reported Gulf Times.
The rankings, which were released yesterday, see Qatar in its highest-ever position in over a quarter of a century.
Semifinalists Iran are ranked 22nd, up seven places while fellow finalists Japan jumped 23 spots to be ranked 27th. South Korea is 38th, up 15 places while Australia went one rank below and currently stands at 42.
Qatar is now the top-ranked country in the Gulf region and overall fifth in Asia, reported The Peninsula.
Among other Gulf teams, AFC Asian Cup hosts UAE is currently ranked 67th (up 12 ranks) while Saudi Arabia fell one place to 70th. Oman is in 90th place (down eight) while Bahrain (111, up two) and Kuwait (158, unchanged) are the other Gulf sides.
Jordan is in 97th position, up by 12 ranks. There were also significant upwards moves by the likes of Iraq (80th, up 8), and Uzbekistan (89th, up 6).
Another consequence of these changes is that Asia has boosted its numbers in the Ranking’s top 50, according to Qatar Tribune.
The AFC is now represented by four teams, up one from the last edition, and now stands level with Africa, whose numbers have been depleted by Congo DR (51st, down 2) dropping out.
Qatar's improvement was expected as six of the seven teams they defeated en route to the Asian Cup title were ranked higher than them.
Meanwhile, Belgium continued to lead the world rankings ahead of last year’s World Cup winners France and Brazil, with no changes to the top 20 due to the lack of fixtures involving teams from the European and South American confederations.