Soccer

Canadian men reach all-time high at No. 33 in FIFA rankings

Canada, named the "Most Improved Side" in 2021 by FIFA, has now risen 39 places since the end of 2020 — sparked by an unbeaten run in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying. John Herdman's team beat Honduras, the U.S. and El Salvador since the last rankings came out Dec. 23.

"Most Improved Side" in 2021 has risen 39 places since end of 2020

Canada's Atiba Hutchinson celebrates scoring his side's opening goal against El Salvador during a qualifying soccer match for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 at Cuscatlan stadium in San Salvador, El Salvador, Wednesday, Feb. 2, 2022. (Moises Castillo/The Associated Press)

The Canadian men continue their record rise up the FIFA world rankings, climbing seven spots to another all-time high at No. 33.

Canada, named the "Most Improved Side" in 2021 by FIFA, has now risen 39 places since the end of 2020 — sparked by an unbeaten run in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying. John Herdman's team beat Honduras, the U.S. and El Salvador since the last rankings came out Dec. 23.

The Canadians tied their career high when they jumped eight places to No. 40 in the November rankings. Canada also hit No. 40 in December 1996. FIFA, which starting the rankings in 1992, revamped its rating formula in 2018.

Herdman's side tops the ongoing final round of World Cup qualifying in CONCACAF, which covers North and Central America and the Caribbean. At 7-0-4, the Canadians are on the verge of qualifying for Qatar 2022.

Canada was 94th, sandwiched between Gabon and the Faroe Islands, when Herdman took over as coach in January 2018. Back then the Canadian men ranked 10th among CONCACAF countries in the FIFA rankings, looking up at Mexico, the U.S., Costa Rica, Jamaica, Panama, Haiti, Honduras, Curacao, and Trinidad and Tobago.

Top 3 unchanged

Today Canada stands third in the region behind Mexico (No. 12) and the U.S. (No. 13). The new rankings saw Mexico reclaim top spot in the region, climbing two spots while the Americans fell two rungs.

The Canadians are flanked on either side by Nigeria and Egypt, which finished runner-up at the African Cup of Nations.

Canada's lowest-ever ranking was 122nd, in both August and October 2014.

The top three are unchanged in the February rankings with Belgium ahead of Brazil and France. Argentina and England swapped places as the South Americans moved into No. 4 and England dipped to fifth spot.

Italy, Spain, Portugal, Denmark and the Netherlands complete the top 10.

African Cup of Nations winner Senegal also reached an all-time high by climbing two places to No. 18.

Costa Rica moved up seven spots to No. 42, following wins over Jamaica and Panama and a tie in Mexico in World Cup qualifying.

The biggest mover of the month was Gambia which vaulted 25 places to No. 125 after the Scorpions made it to the quarter-finals at the African Cup.

The Canadian women, gold medallists at last summer's Tokyo Olympics, are currently ranked sixth by FIFA.

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