After Qatar 2022 World Cup, where do Arab teams stand in the latest FIFA rankings?
After Morocco's phenomenal run in the Qatar 2022 World Cup and Saudi Arabia's stunning victory over Argentina, we look at how Arab teams have risen or dropped in FIFA’s new rankings, released on Thursday.
The highest-placed Arab team - Morocco - sits just outside the top ten, leapfrogging footballing giants such as Germany and two-time World Cup winners Uruguay.
Europe and South America's dominance of the sport might just be breaking.
Ranking today: 11
Ranking before the World Cup: 22
Morocco took down Belgium, Spain and Portugal on their way to becoming the first African nation to ever make the World Cup semifinal.— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) December 14, 2022
What a ride it was 👏🇲🇦 pic.twitter.com/62WRRrkN6K
Morocco captured billions of hearts during the World Cup after reaching the semi-final of the tournament - the first African or Arab team to do so.
Walid Regragui's well-drilled side defeated the likes of Belgium, Spain, and Portugal on their dream run until they were eventually defeated by France one game from the final.
Heroic performers Bounou (Bono), Hakimi, En Nesyri, Amrabat, Ounahi and Saiss are now household names, and the team's achievements will inspire African and Arab sides for generations.
The fans must also get a large share of the credit, as their fervor and passion during Morocco's games turned Lusail and Doha into Rabat or Casablanca.
The Atlas Lions’ exploits ensured they climbed all the way to 11 in the FIFA ranking, putting them ahead of heavyweights Germany and Uruguay.
Ranking today: 30
Ranking before the World Cup: 30
Tunisia’s place has not changed in the rankings, despite the team's impressive win against France - a symbolic victory against their former colonial rulers.
Tunisian striker Wahbi Khazri scored the only goal of the game to send the Tunisian fans of the Carthage Eagles into rapture. Their victory was not enough to pull them out of the group stages.
Ranking today: 49
Ranking before the World Cup: 51
The Saudis got off to a flying start in the competition, stunning World Cup favourites and eventual winners Argentina 2-1 in front of a raucous crowd.
After Argentina took control of the first half following a Lionel Messi penalty, two Saudi goals in five minutes in the second half quickly turned the game on its head. The Green Falcons managed to hold on for a famous victory.
Saleh Al-Shehri picked up the first goal, before a goal of the tournament contender from Salem al-Dawsari shocked the South Americans, ending their 36-game unbeaten streak.
The Saudis couldn’t channel the same spirit in their other two matches against Poland and Mexico, however, and were dumped out of the group - while Argentina went on to become world champions.
Ranking today: 60
Ranking before the World Cup: 50
Qatar dropped ten places after the World Cup, as their spirited performances were not enough to help them secure any points in a tough group with Ecuador, Senegal, and the Netherlands.
The team has still come a long way in the past decade, ever since they were announced as the 2022 World Cup hosts. Measures to improve their football infrastructure and the quality of players have reaped huge rewards and shown the world they are no longer mere cannon fodder for the top teams.
🏆 𝐂𝐇𝐀𝐌𝐏𝐈𝐎𝐍𝐒 🏆 pic.twitter.com/L2QO9h85hf— FIFA World Cup (@FIFAWorldCup) December 18, 2022
Despite their loss to Croatia in the World Cup quarter-finals, Brazil continues to lead the FIFA rankings. Tournament champions Argentina climbed to second, while finalists France round off the top three.
Japan shot into the top 20 after recording famous wins over Spain and Germany in the World Cup that knocked the Germans out of the tournament.
The next highest-ranked team from the Middle East is Iran, at 24.
Perennial African heavyweights Egypt and Algeria, who both surprisingly missed out on the World Cup, are ranked 39 and 40 respectively.
Top 20 FIFA rankings: