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Sports News of Thursday, 18 February 2021

Source: Today NG

Nigeria drop in latest FIFA world rankings

Nigeria’s senior national team begins 2021 as the 36th best football playing country in the world.

The three-time African champions dropped one place in February’s ranking released by Fifa on Thursday morning.

Gernot Rohr’s side accrued a total of 1474 points to remain as the fifth-best team on the continent behind Senegal, Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco.

Nigeria’s last international fixture was their double-header Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Sierra Leone in November 2020 which ended 4-4 and 0-0 respectively.

The Lions of Teranga are ranked first on the continent and 20th in the world with 1558 points, while the Carthage Eagles are 26th in the world and second in Africa after amassing 1503 points.

The African Nations Championship (Chan) was taken into consideration – classified as friendlies – because only players competing in the national championships of the participating countries are eligible to take part.

Winners Morocco moved two places up while runners-up Mali made the most progress climbing three places up. Elsewhere, third-placed Guinea and quarter-finalists Congo moved a place up.

Other teams that moved northward include Costa Rica (50th, + 1), Cape Verde (80th, + 1), Oman (81st, + 1), Benin (82nd, + 1), Azerbaijan (108th, + 1), Estonia (108th, + 1), Thailand (110th, + 1), Guinea-Bissau (119th, + 1), Tajikistan (120th, + 1) and Guatemala (130th, + 1).

2020 team of the year Belgium remain at the global summit with 1780 points. Their three immediate chasers – France (2nd), Brazil (3rd) and England (4th) – retain their respective rankings.

2022 Fifa World Cup hosts, Qatar boast a striking 1391 points over the course of a year to finish fifth in Asia and 58th in the world.

The next Fifa/Coca-Cola World Rankings will be published on 8 April 2021. Before then, the three-time African champions would have taken on the Benin Republic and Lesotho in March’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers March.

As it stands, Rohr’s Eagles lead Group L having accrued eight points from four games.

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