World Cup bound African teams experienced mixed fortunes in the latest FIFA rankings that were released on Thursday, less than a week to the opening of football’s biggest tournament in Russia.
Senegal, Morocco and Egypt improved by one position while Tunisia and Nigeria lost ground following unimpressive results in friendly games played ahead of the World Cup.
Tunisia which is still the highest ranked African team moved from the record 14th position to 21st position, while Nigeria moved from 47th to 48th position following friendly defeats to Serbia, England and Czech Republic.
Senegal, Morocco and Egypt all moved one place up from 28, 42 and 46 respectively.
Summary of rankings since December 2017
December 2017: Senegal (23), Tunisia (27), Egypt (31), Morocco (40), Nigeria (51)
April 2018: Tunisia (14), Senegal (28), Morocco (42), Egypt (46), Nigeria (47)
June 2018: Tunisia (21), Senegal (27), Morocco (41), Egypt (45), Nigeria (48)
Fans of the World Cup bound African teams will be hoping for impressive results despite the rankings and lukewarm performances in recent warm up matches.
How did their opponents fair in the latest FIFA rankings:
In Group A which features the Egyptian Pharaohs, the hosts Russia are ranked 70th which is the lowest of all 32 teams going for the World Cup, while Saudi Arabia and Uruguay are ranked 67 and 14 respectively.
Morocco’s Group B also has 2010 world champions Spain who are ranked 10, while reigning European champions Portugal are ranked 4, and the other team in the group Iran is ranked 37.
Nigeria’s opponents in Group D mostly stagnated in the latest rankings. Argentina is still ranked 5th in the world, Iceland remains at 22 while Croatia dropped two places from 18th to 20th.
Tunisia will be taking on England, Belgium and Panama in Group G, and they are ranked 12, 3 and 55 respectively.
The last of Africa’s representatives, Senegal will take on 8th ranked Poland, Colombia (16) and Japan (61).
Reigning world champions Germany are still ranked number 1, followed by five time world champions Brazil.