U.S. vaults to No. 6 in world, its highest ranking ever

National team overtakes powers France, England

Brazil remains at No. 1

Soccer

July 21, 2005|By Bill Ordine | Bill Ordine,SUN STAFF

The U.S. national soccer team has climbed to its highest spot ever in the monthly FIFA world rankings at No. 6, passing traditional powerhouses such as England and France.

In the rankings released yesterday, Brazil remained No. 1.

The world soccer body's rankings are based on a formula that takes into consideration a team's performances over the past eight years, with game results being weighted according to the importance of the match, the goals scored and yielded, and even the difference in strengths of various world regions.

The United States, which was ranked No. 10 in June, gained more ranking points in the past month (21) than any other team in the top 10, while France (now No. 7) dropped 16 points and England (now No. 8) lost 13 points.

While the Americans have traditionally lagged behind both countries, U.S. teams have been ranked ahead of England several times since the ranking were started in 1993, and were last in front of France in 1998.

Before yesterday, the United States' high-water mark in the rankings was No. 7 in July 2004.

"This is definitely an honor and testament to the work of the [U.S.] team," said Jim Moorhouse, a spokesman for U.S. Soccer.

"We made a big splash at the 2002 World Cup," Moorhouse added referring to the Americans' march to the quarterfinals, "and even with that, this team remains one of the world's best-kept secrets."

The United States plays Honduras tonight in the Gold Cup semifinals at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J. The Gold Cup tournament is for the championship of North America, Central America and the Caribbean.

Argentina moved into second place in the rankings, followed by the Netherlands, Czech Republic and Mexico.

FIFA rankings

No. Nation Points +/-

1. Brazil 846 +17

2. Argentina 787 +2

3. Netherlands 781 -2

4. Czech Republic 778 -12

5. Mexico 768 +9

6. United States 765 +21

7. France 749 -16

8. England 744 -13

8. Spain 744 -3

10. Portugal 739 -16

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