Geneva, Dec 20 (IANS) Belgium have been crowned FIFA ‘Team of the Year’ for the second successive time after a record-breaking year for the global ladder.
The team, known as the Red Devils, had held on to top spot in a December table barely impacted by just 19 friendlies toward the end of a year in which 1,082 international “A” matches have been played – an all-time high since the ranking’s 1993 inception.
World champions France remains in the second place ahead of Brazil in third, the positions they held in December 2018, but the make-up of the year-end top five has changed, said FIFA in a statement.
England climbed one place in 2019 to end the year in fourth, and Uruguay moved up to fifth on the back of a two-spot rise.
Argentina (9th) and Colombia (10th) are also in the top 10 at the expense of Switzerland (12th) and Denmark (16th), who have slipped four and six places respectively over the year. China dropped one place to 76th.
The ranking’s Mover of the Year, meanwhile, was Qatar.
The FIFA World Cup 2022 hosts gained an impressive 138 points over the course of a year in which they won the AFC Asian Cup and made a strong start to the Asian Zone World Cup qualifiers.
Besides accumulating the biggest points haul, Qatar has also jumped a year-high 38 places, followed closely by fellow climbers Algeria (up 32 ranks) and Japan (up 22 places).