USA Finishes 2004 Ranked #11 in the World Ahead of Superpowers Germany Denmark Sweden & Others

LONDON - From ESPN Soccernet.com News Services - The latest FIFA world rankings (and the last ranking in 2004) were released this week with Brazil France and Argentina remaining the top three sides in the rankings.

The United States ranked 11th overall ahead of European powers such as Greece Sweden and Germany.

The U.S. Men's National Team cruised through the semifinal round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying in 2004 and is currently in the midst of a record 13-game unbeaten streak.

By contrast Scotland have slipped to 86th place in the latest FIFA world rankings representing a total fall of 32 places in 2004. Only Iceland have fallen further than Scotland in the world rankings over the past 12 months.

Meanwhile England have traded places with Mexico in the latest monthly rankings. Sven-Goran Eriksson's men slipped one spot from seventh to eighth with the Mexicans taking their spot and Portugal -- England's conquerors in Euro 2004 -- one place behind.

FIFA Final World Rankings 2004 - Top 20 Countries
Position Country Points
1 Brazil 843
2 France 792
3 Argentina 785
4 Czech Republic 777
5 Spain 765
6 Netherlands 758
7 Mexico 753
8 England 752
9 Portugal 747
10 Italy 738
11 United States 726
12 Ireland 716
13 Sweden 715
14= Denmark 711
14=Turkey 711
16 Uruguay 708
17 Japan 707
18 Greece 706
19 Germany 705
20 Iran 697

(To view the complete FIFA listing of all the world's 205 ranked national teams click here).

The United States will open their bid to qualify for their fifth consecutive World Cup finals in Trinidad & Tobago on Feb. 9 2005 as part of the final round draw for 2006 FIFA World Cup qualifying.

The U.S. along with Costa Rica Guatemala Mexico Panama and Trinidad & Tobago will compete in the 10-game round-robin format from February to October 2005 with the top three teams automatically advancing to the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany.

The fourth-place team will compete in a two-game playoff to be held in November against the fifth-place finisher in Asian qualifying.

Since 1988 the United States has been a dominant force in the CONCACAF region compiling a 39-28-27 record in World Cup qualifying play and advancing to four consecutive World Cups the most prestigous and storied sports tournament in the world.

With a qualifying record of 25-6-11 on U.S. soil the Yanks have lost only one home qualifier since 1985. Additionally the squad is currently on a 29-match unbeaten run against CONCACAF opponents in all competitions dating back to Sept. 5 2001 a 2-0 loss to Costa Rica in the final round of qualifying for the 2002 FIFA World Cup.

FIFA's standings are based on a statistical analysis of countries' results over eight years weighted according to how recently the matches were played the strength of the opponents and the importance of each match.