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England Surges Up Latest FIFA Rankings, But WTF Is North Korea Still Doing In The Top 10?

The latest women’s FIFA rankings were released on Friday and, to no one’s surprise, the USWNT remains No. 1. The last time the Americans fell out of the top spot was for a few months in 2017. England and Germany surged up the Top 10, but coming in at No. 10 is yet another baffling appearance from a team that hasn’t played in three years.

The Top 9 of the women’s FIFA rankings include all the usual suspects: USA, Germany, Sweden, England, France, Netherlands, Canada, Spain and Brazil, respectively. 

Coming in at No. 10 is North Korea, which has played as many international matches this year as you have.

Women’s FIFA Rankings August 2022

  1. United States
  2. Germany
  3. Sweden
  4. England
  5. France
  6. Netherlands
  7. Canada
  8. Spain
  9. Brazil
  10. North Korea

There were plenty of movers and shakers in the latest FIFA world rankings thanks to the recent completion of continental tournaments in Concacaf, UEFA, CAF and CONMEBOL, with 221 matches played since the June rankings came out. England was the biggest mover in the Top 10, climbing four spots to No. 4 after winning the Euros on home soil. Germany jumped three spots to overtake Sweden for the No. 2 spot, having reached the Euro 2022 final.

The USWNT won the Concacaf W Championship to retain its comfortable lead atop the rankings — with 2111.47 points, it’s well ahead of second-place Germany at 2059.75. Vanquished finalist Canada fell one spot to seventh. Jamaica reached its highest-ever ranking at 42nd, five behind Costa Rica; both of the Concacaf nations qualified for the World Cup last month. 

Brazil easily won Copa América Femenil but remained in ninth as its competition didn’t include any teams in the top 25, though Colombia did rise to 25th.

In Africa, Zambia improved 23 spots to 80th after qualifying for its first Women’s World Cup, even without star Barbra Banda. Nigeria fell four spots but remains Africa’s highest-ranked team at 46, followed by South Africa, which moved up four places to 54 after winning the Women’s Africa Cup of Nations. 

The 185 teams in the rankings set a record for most nations qualifying for the rankings, as Cambodia, Turkmenistan, Timor-Leste and Guinea-Bissau entered the field. 

For some reason, North Korea is still ranked, too.

The Eastern Azaleas, as they’re known, used to be one of the best teams in Asia, reaching the World Cup quarterfinals in 2007 and winning three Asian Cups. 

Embed from Getty Images

North Korea hasn’t played an official international match since March 2019. It was banned from the 2014 Women’s Asian Cup and 2015 Women’s World Cup, didn’t qualify for the 2018 and 2019 editions of those events and withdrew from the 2022 and 2023 editions over Covid concerns. 

In December 2020, North Korea was dropped from the rankings for inactivity. However, the Eastern Azaleas were brought back in a few months later when FIFA changed the inactivity rules to allow teams in the rankings so long as they’ve played a match in the last four years. 

North Korea is about six months from hitting that four-year mark, so unless the team plays soon, it will be knocked out of the FIFA rankings in March.

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