The final FIFA ranking for 2021 was released on December 23 and it showed that Nigeria’s Super Eagles did not improve or regress as they started the year in 36th place and ended the year also in 36th place.
The Eagles played 11 matches in 2021; won six, drew two, and lost three-the most scandalous being the 1-0 loss to the Central African Republic in October. A largely home-based team also lost 4-0 to Mexico in July.
According to FIFA, the Covid-19 pandemic reduced the number of international matches to a record low, falling only behind the number for 1987.
“Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, only 352 full internationals were played in 2020. Not since 1987 (323 matches) had so few games been played in a calendar year. By contrast, planet football made up for the lost time in 2021 with a record-breaking 1116 matches played.
“And while the quantity of games changed radically from one year to the next, the top-ranked team in the FIFA/ Coca-Cola World Ranking has remained the same! For the fourth year in a row, Belgium (1st) ends the calendar year in pole position, albeit only just ahead of Brazil (2nd) by 2.1 points. France (3rd) complete the podium for 2021.
“For their part, Canada (40th) are the year’s ‘Most Improved Side’ having picked up no fewer than 130.32 points over the last 12 months. Their journey to the semi-finals of the 2021 Gold Cup as well as impressive results in FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™ qualifying have been major factors in their rise.”
The Eagles achieved their best ranking of 32 in April when they moved to third place in Africa while Senegal maintained their top spot in Africa throughout the year. Tunisia were consistent in second place until November when they fell to third and to fourth in the December 23 ranking. The Eagles had a points total of 1474 in February and ended the year with 1478.78 points.
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