The latest FIFA/Coca-Cola World men’s rankings has seen the gaps between OFC Member Associations closing, creating a more competitive environment in the region.
2016 OFC Nation’s Cup runners-up Papua New Guinea have moved up the rankings three places to 159 taking them to second place in the regional rankings and moving them much closer to their Kiwi rivals.
Their current ranking is the highest the nation has ever been positioned, surpassing their 2004 ranking of 161. The side has flourished under Danish coach Flemming Serritslev making the final of the OFC Nations Cup for the first time in their history, and their place at 159th reinforces the successes the nation has had over the past 12 months.
Since the creation of the FIFA ranking system, Papua New Guinea’s average ranking has been 184.
Regional front-runners New Zealand saw a significant shift up the list earlier this year breaking into the top 100, but have since seen a their position slip to 116.
Since their highest placing of 42 in 2002, the All Whites have had a roller coaster journey through the rankings, slipping in and out of the top 100. In early 2016, the nation had dropped to their lowest point in the list at 161, but after their success at the OFC Nations Cup, where they earned tickets to the 2018 FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia, the squad saw a strong comeback reaching 88th place in September.
Their upcoming matches in 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™ Qualifying Stage 3 could determine whether they return to the top 100.
The latest rankings reflect a challenging year for the Solomon Islands, who moved down seven places to 193.
Although Vanuatu lost four positions and now sit at 177, the national team has shown a steady incline since hitting their lowest ranking of 193 in 2015. With a record ranking of 140 in 2007, the national side has plenty of potential to improve.
Tahiti, Fiji, and Tonga saw no movement, remaining at 172, 179, and 205 respectively.
Each moving one position up in the rankings were American Samoa, Cook Islands and Samoa who all remain equal at 189.
Since its introduction in August 1993, the FIFA World Ranking has become a regular part of international sports reports and a useful indicator for FIFA’s member associations to find out where their respective teams stand in world football’s pecking order and how they are progressing.
The next release of the FIFA World Rankings will take place on 24 November 2016.
Story by OFC Media and FIFA.