Brazil and England – the shooting stars of 2007
GERMANY SET BENCHMARK ONCE AGAIN
For the fifth consecutive time, world champions Germany topped the year-end FIFA Women’s World Ranking, which, given their successful Women’s World Cup campaign, came as little surprise. The USA and Sweden followed in second and third place, with World Cup runners-up Brazil only slightly behind.
Germany did not go through 2007 with an impeccable international record, however. A dip in form in last spring’s Algarve Cup, the “mini World Cup” of the women’s game, even resulted in the top spot being lost to the USA. Indeed, from a purely statistical point of view, the
USA actually posted the most impressive record in 2007, with 19 victories from 24 matches, their only defeat coming against Brazil in the Women’s World Cup semi-final. Although it proved costly for the Americans, victory had the opposite effect for Marta and co. as it propelled Brazil into the leading pack of teams for the very first time. England, who found themselves in the top ten at the end of the year for the first time, are another team who enjoyed a fine 2007.
Further down the ranking, a whole host of teams took significant strides with Thailand (33rd, up 7), Algeria (70lh, up 14), Azerbaijan (70th, up 9) and Tahiti (93rd, up 15) all proof of the progress being made around the world.
Following on from 2006, which was a record year for women’s football, there were two more impressive statistics from 2007. The total of 444 matches came close to equalising the record set in 2006 (448), and 2007 also saw the ranking feature 1 50 teams for the very first time.