Scotland rise to 41st in the world

Scotland have risen seven places in the latest FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking list. Despite their recent 5-1 humiliation at the hands of the U.S.A., the Scots are now ranked 41 in the world, jumping above the likes of Mali and 2012 Africa Cup of Nations winners, Zambia.

The rankings are worked out over a four year period, with more weight given to results in the current year. According to STV, one of the reasons behind the rise is the fact that the 3-1 defeat to the Czech Republic in May 2008 is now no longer part of the calculations.

Scotland’s best ever world ranking came in October 2007 when they were placed 13th under Alex McLeish and their current ranking is their highest since August 2010, when again they sat 41st. The last time they were higher than that was in September 2009, towards the end of Craig Burley’s reign as national team manager.

The current rise leaves Scotland just three places behind Wales, who they will face in the qualifying campaign for FIFA World Cup 2014, and ahead of Belgium by 13 places while FYR Macedonia languish at 101st. The highest ranked nations in the qualifying group remain Croatia (8th) and Serbia (34th).

Speaking to the SFA’s website, manager Craig Levein said, “It is encouraging to see the move up the rankings table, which we know is important when it comes to future tournament draws. The real test of our progress will come when the World Cup qualifiers begin in September.”

Performance in the World Cup 2014 qualifying group will make up a significant part of the co-efficient when seedings are decided for the UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying stages, so good performances in the upcoming matches will have a big effect on their chances of reaching the expanded finals stage for the tournament in France in four years’ time.