UAE rise eight places in Fifa rankings on heels of Japan victory

The UAE rose in the latest Fifa rankings released on Thursday, gaining a big boost after beating Japan in Tokyo in their opening match to the third stage of World Cup qualifying.

UAE striker Ahmed Khalil shown during their win over Japan in World Cup qualifying earlier this month. Kazuhiro Nogi / AFP
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UAE ranking: 66

Before: 74

Gain: +8

The UAE national football team rose eight places in the most recent Fifa rankings released on Thursday.

The Emiratis stunningly defeated Japan 2-1 in Tokyo to kick off the final phase of Asian 2018 World Cup qualifying two weeks ago, contributing significantly to their rise. They dropped the next contest 1-0 to Australia in Abu Dhabi and sit fourth in Group B. The top two positions deliver tickets to Russia 2018, with third offering a further play-off route.

At No 66 in the world, the UAE are back on track to improve their 2015 year-end ranking of 65. They sit just behind Uganda and Nigeria, at 64 and 65, and ahead of Slovenia and Burkina Faso at joint-67th.

The Emiratis remain Asia’s seventh-ranked side, behind Japan (56) and ahead of China (78). Rivals Saudi Arabia also rose nine places, to 52nd. Iran (37) remain the continent’s top-ranked team, followed by Australia (45), South Korea (47), Uzbekistan (49) and the Saudis.

The UAE’s next World Cup qualifying assignments come in October, when they will look to secure three points against Thailand in Abu Dhabi on October 6 before a critical away fixture against Saudi Arabia in Riyadh five days later.

In the overall rankings, Argentina remain the world’s top side, followed by Belgium, Germany, Colombia and Brazil.

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