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Australia hit all-time high as USA end 2017 on top in FIFA Women's World Ranking

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The USA will ring in another new year as the top-ranked women’s national team after holding on to top spot in the final FIFA Women’s World Ranking of 2017.

This is the third year in succession that has ended with the Stars & Stripes on top, but this month’s edition of the ranking also includes some less predictable moves further down the order.

Most notable, perhaps, is Australia (4th, up 2) entering the top five for the first time. The Matildas have ascended to this record-high position on the back of a spectacular seven-match winning run that has included victories over Brazil, China PR, Japan, and ranking leaders the USA.

Australia swapping places with France (6th, down 2), and Brazil (8th, up 1) and Sweden (10th, up 1) each moving up a spot at the expense of Japan (9th, down 1) and Korea DPR (11th, down 1) respectively, are the only changes in a largely static top ten.

Germany’s (2nd, unchanged) shock home loss to Iceland (20th, up 1) in FIFA Women’s World Cup™ qualifying – the greatest upset, in terms of ranking points exchanged, since June 2015 – removed any prospect of the two-time world champions knocking the USA off their perch, and almost cost them second spot. The Germans now sit on an all-time low of 2052 points, just 19 clear of England (3rd, unchanged) – their smallest lead over another European nation since 2009.

The latest ranking does include plenty of success stories though, with Spain (13th, up 4) and the Republic of Ireland (29th, up 4) making identical leaps on the back of impressive results in Europe’s Women’s World Cup qualifiers. The Republic of Ireland have also claimed this month’s biggest points haul (48), while there are also notable climbs for Northern Ireland (55th, up 5) and Kosovo (97th, up 8).

The rise of the Kosovans is largely due to the departure from the ranking of seven erstwhile higher-placed African teams due to a period of prolonged inactivity: Côte d’Ivoire, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Senegal, Guinea and Burkina Faso. However, Madagascar (117th) and Mauritius (118th) have entered the ranking for the first time, while Argentina (36th), Mozambique (109th), Malawi (110th), Lesotho (111th) and Swaziland (113th) have all made comebacks.

The next FIFA Women’s World Ranking will be published on 23 March 2018.

Leader USA (unchanged)

Moves into top ten Sweden (10th, up 1)

Moves out of top ten Korea DPR (11th, down 1)

Matches played in total 129

Most matches played Brazil (7)

Biggest move by points Republic of Ireland (up 48)

Biggest move by ranks Kosovo (97th, up 8)

Biggest drop by points Slovakia (down 57)

Biggest drop by ranks Israel (62nd, down 7)

Newly ranked teams (re-entries unless otherwise stated)  Argentina, Mozambique, Malawi, Lesotho, Swaziland, Madagascar (first entry) and Mauritius (first entry)

Teams no longer ranked due to prolonged inactivity  Côte d’Ivoire, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria, Senegal, Guinea and Burkina Faso