Our national team has seen better days – admittedly, much less so.
But with defeats to France and Italy in the Nations League, there is a good chance that the Red Devils will soon lose their first place in the FIFA rankings. An honorary title that Roberto Martinez likes to use.
The loss matches did not cost Belgium any points – because the Final Four counts as a knockout phase of a major tournament – but did not yield any points either. The counter therefore remains at 1,832.33 points – the same number of points as in the previous ranking in September.
The problem with that is that the Red Devils were already beginning to feel the hot breath of Brazil in their necks. De Seleçao narrowed the deficit to twenty points last month (1,832 against 1,812) and with the win in the World Cup qualifier in and against Venezuela (1-3) the five-time world champion now stands at 1,816.48 points, while there two more international matches will be played in the coming days.
The away game in Colombia will follow on Sunday and the home game against Uruguay next Thursday. With two victories, the Brazilians then come to 1,832.99 and with the points after the decimal point they pass the Belgians.
Before the match against Italy, the national coach indicated that the FIFA ranking does have value. “Obviously, that ranking is important for us,” national coach Roberto Martinez said on Saturday. “We have been number 1 in the world for three years and we want to stay that way.”
The Red Devils have been in first place in the FIFA ranking since 20 September 2018. They also received this honor from November 2015 to March 2016. This is scorned here and there, because the Golden Generation’s trophy cabinet is still empty and the chance of success with the aging group of players is getting smaller and smaller.