Nigeria: Super Eagles rise in FIFA ranking as Brazil back On top

(Top L-R) Nigeria's goalkeeper Maduka Okoye, midfielder Wilfred Ndidi, defender Kenneth Omeruo, forward Taiwo Awoniyi, midfielder Joe Aribo, defender William Troost-Ekong, (bottom L-R) forward Kelechi Iheanacho, defender Ola Aina, defender Zaidu Sanusi, forward Moses Simon and forward Samuel Chukwueze pose prior to the Africa Cup of Nations (CAN) 2021 round of 16 football match between Nigeria and Tunisia at Stade Roumde Adjia in Garoua on January 23, 2022.

Super Eagles made appreciable lift in the March rankings released by FIFA yesterday despite failing to qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. Nigeria climbed six steps up from the previous ranking and are now in the 30th position. 

Eagles are also number three in Africa, while Algeria that similarly failed to qualify for Qatar 2022 dropped out of Africa's top five into number seven.

At the global level, Brazil having spent 4,731 days which is the longest time at the top of the ranking by any team before they dropped down, are now back on top, five years after they were last there. 

Their recent 4-0 defeat of Chile at home and another 4-0 away humiliation of Bolivia in the World Cup qualifying series enabled the South Americans to overtake Belgium in the number one position, Belgium had been on top in the past three years. But their recent 2-2 draw with Ireland may have impacted in their current ranking.

The March 2022 table is therefore a new chapter in rankings history, but more than that, it will be used to calculate the seeds for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Final Draw which will take place this afternoon in Doha. 

Pot 1: Qatar (host nation), Brazil, Belgium, France, Argentina, England, Spain, Portugal

Pot 2: Mexico, Netherlands, Denmark, Germany, Uruguay, Switzerland, USA, Croatia

Pot 3: Senegal, IR Iran, Japan, Morocco, Serbia, Poland, Korea Republic, Tunisia

Pot 4: Cameroon, Canada, Ecuador, Saudi Arabia, Ghana, winner of intercontinental play-off 1, winner of intercontinental play-off 2, winner of European play-off Belgium (2nd, -1) are now on the second on the podium, ahead of France (3rd) who remain unchanged. 

Behind this top three, Argentina (4th), England (5th), Spain (7th) and Portugal (8th) are the next best placed teams with regard to the Draw, keeping in mind that Italy (6th) will be absent following their defeat in the play-off semi-final.

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