(March 25, 2016) - There is a lot of action in the first FIFA/Coca-Cola Women’s World Ranking of 2016 as a result of recent Women’s Olympic Football Tournament qualifiers, including Japan sinking to seventh and Australia jumping to a record high of fifth.
The final FIFA/Coca-Cola Women’s World Ranking of 2015 saw very little movement, including a static top ten. The first ranking of 2016, however, reveals quite a shake-up, thanks largely to the numerous Women’s Olympic Football Tournament qualifiers that have taken place since the turn of the year.
The AFC qualifiers for Rio 2016 provided the biggest movements, including for FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015™ runners-up Japan, who were unable to seal Olympic qualification, whereas Australia were one of the tournament’s surprise packages and booked their ticket to Rio alongside China PR. As a result, the Nadeshiko – who recently saw coach Norio Sasaki step down from his post – have slipped from fourth to seventh, dropping 62 ranking points along the way, leaving them at their lowest ranking since June 2009.
The Matildas, meanwhile, as a result of winning the AFC qualifying tournament, have jumped four places to fifth, their highest-ever position. China PR, who finished just behind Australia, have climbed five places to 12th, which is their best ranking since May 2010.
Away from Asia, Olympic qualifiers have also affected some European teams’ rankings.
Sweden recently qualified for Rio 2016 as Europe’s third and final participant after coming out on top of a four-team mini-tournament hosted by the Netherlands. As a result, Pia Sundhage’s side have risen two spots to sixth, while Norway have fallen to 11th, making room for Canada in the top ten. Meanwhile Switzerland have also moved up a spot to 19th, courtesy of their 2-1 win over Norway.
Other competitions such as the Algarve Cup and the new SheBelieves Cup have resulted in slight moves, most notably for England, who have gained a place to reach an all-time high of fourth. Reigning Women’s World Cup champions the USA have held on to the top spot, while Germany and France remain in second and third respectively.
Four member associations have re-entered the ranking, although another eight nations have slid out of the ranking altogether due to prolonged inactivity, reducing the number of ranked countries from 140 to 136.
The next FIFA/Coca-Cola Women’s World Ranking will be published on 24 June 2016.