The Socceroos, whose World Cup heroics gave Australian football an injection of hope before the violence at AAMI Park knocked it back, are set to reach their highest point in the FIFA men’s world rankings in more than a decade.
- The Socceroos are set to jump 11 places, from 38th to 27th in the FIFA world rankings
- They also achieved their highest ranking at a World Cup, judged 11th after their round-of-16 exit
- Brazil will remain number one on the men’s rankings despite a quarter-final exit
Graham Arnold’s side, which won two matches in Qatar to reach the last 16 and gave eventual champions Argentina a fright with a late surge, will climb 11 places to 27th in the rankings.
It is their best placing since being 25th in September 2012 under Holger Osieck.
Along with surprise semi-finalist Morocco, Australia will be this month’s biggest climbers.
And while the Socceroos’ performance ended in heartbreak against Argentina, it gave them their highest World Cup ranking of 11th from 32 teams in the final standings after winning two matches at the tournament for the first time.
Wins over Tunisia and 10th-ranked Denmark were sandwiched between a tournament-opening 4-1 thrashing by defending champions France and a tight 2-1 loss to champions Argentina.
It was the first time the Socceroos have won two matches at a World Cup, while the two nations that beat Australia went on to face off in Monday’s (AEDT) final.
The 11th-placed ranking put Australia ahead of former world champions Spain (13th), Germany (17th) and Uruguay (20th).
The humiliation for hosts Qatar was complete when they finished in last place, having lost all three of their group matches.
Australia’s previous best finish was in 1974 — the first time the country qualified for a World Cup — when they failed to win a game and were ranked 14th of 16 teams.
In 2006, the Guus Hiddink-coached Socceroos reached the knockout stages for the first time, only to be beaten by eventual winners Italy, but they were ranked last of the 16 teams that made it out of the group stage.
World rankings are significant in that they are often used for seeding purposes, including in World Cup qualifying as well as at the finals.
Australia will remain the fourth-highest Asian nation behind Japan (20th), Iran (24th) and South Korea (25th) but will be well clear of fifth-ranked Saudi Arabia (48th), who took down Argentina in their opening group match.
According to ESPN and rankings tracking websites, Brazil will remain number one when the official rankings are issued on Thursday despite being knocked out at the quarter-final stage.
World Cup champions Argentina will move up to second with runners-up France third and Belgium, who exited in the group stage, down to fourth.