World football governing board, FIFA lists Nigeria as the 7th of the 10 most improved nations on the monthly ranking of countries in 2019. The country however maintains the 31st position in the world after moving up by four places in the November ranking.
Belgium is crowned Team of the Year as Qatar emerges the 2019’s biggest climber. The other top climbers of the year in that order are Algeria, Japan, Mexico, Iraq and Italy. The others include Nigeria, Haiti, Kosovo and Madagascar.
FIFA observes that the top 10 movers of 2019 came from four confederations, namely Qatar, Japan, Iraq from the Asian Football Confederation (AFC). The Confederation of African Football (CAF) has Algeria, Nigeria and Madagascar while Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football (Concacaf) has Mexico and Haiti. The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) completes the list with Italy and Kosovo.
In the other December 2019 rankings, the world champions France remain in second place ahead of Brazil in third, the positions they held in December 2018. The make-up of the year-end top five has changed, with England climbing one place in 2019 to end the year in fourth and Uruguay moving up to fifth on the back of a two-spot rise.
The others are Argentina (9th) and Colombia (10th) in the top ten at the expense of Switzerland (12th) and Denmark (16th), who have slipped four and six places respectively over the course of the year.
Due to the scarcity of fixtures since the November edition of the ranking, only eight teams edged a single rung up the ladder. These are Bahrain (99th), Bolivia (75th), Korea Republic (40th) and Lesotho (139th). The othes include the Solomon Islands (141st), South Africa (71st), St Kitts and Nevis (139th) and Suriname (141st).
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