FIFA rankings : India move up two places to 135

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FIFA rankings : India move up two places to 135

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SportsCafe Desk


India’s national football team moved up two places to 135th in the world, according to the latest FIFA rankings released on Thursday (Dec 22), despite not playing any officially recognized matches since their September friendly against Puerto Rico.

India have made significant progress under coach Stephen Constantine, and their vastly improved FIFA ranking is proof. After slipping to a lowly 171 in the rankings in 2014, India finished the following year at 166th under his tutelage and have gained 31 places over the past twelve months.

This is also India’s six-year highest annual ranking after 2009, when they finished at 134.

The Blue Tigers' last recognised game remains their win over Puerto Rico in an international friendly in September and now have 217 points. Since year-end rankings considers results of matches played in the past 12 months, and results of the past three years are given less importance, India gained significantly in the points.

The Sunil Chhetri-led team had lost to Turkmenistan and Iran in September 2015. Since those two defeats have lesser weightage, India's average points accumulated in the past year has increased.

“It can’t be achieved without the help of the players. We have an exceptional batch of players as we are in the process of building the team for the future. One of my priorities was to improve the national team ranking when I took over. The results do state that we have improved but there’s still a lot more to achieve,” Constantine said.

“There have been so many positives for us in 2016. Right from the national team winning the SAFF Championship to the women’s team winning the SAG Gold to the national team beating a team as high as Puerto Rico 4-1 (ranked 114 at that time) in an international friendly, things are looking bright.

“The developments off the field saw us win the 2016 AFC Award for the Best Developing Member Association and we also had Uvena Fernandes, the first even Indian referee to officiate in a World Cup final match. And off course we need to remember that we had an Indian Club in the AFC Cup final for the first time ever and one of our youth development product becoming the first Indian player to play in the Europa League,” he added.

The draw for the AFC Asian Cup Qualifiers 2017 will be held on Jan 23, 2017 and India would be playing their first match in the Qualifiers on March 28.

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