Belgium had last month joined France in becoming the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking’s first-ever joint leaders. Now the Red Devils are in sole possession of top spot, albeit by the narrowest possible margin – 1733 Ranking points to Les Bleus’ 1732.
However, the Super Eagles of Nigeria have improved with a rise in the new FIFA ranking as a result of its recent performance at the Africa Cup of Nations qualifying matches, having climbed to the third position in Africa behind Tunisia and Senegal.
The Super Eagles is currently ranked 44th in the world having moved four places up from its previous 48 position.
The top two remain out in front after a month in which each of them enjoyed a win and a draw, with Belgium and France beating Switzerland (8th, unchanged) and Germany (14th, down two) respectively in the UEFA Nations League and emerging with honours even from matches against the Netherlands (15th, up 2) and Iceland (36th, unchanged).
The Dutch rose on the back of a fine 3-0 Nations League win over their struggling German rivals, and other sides also profited from their success in the same competition. England (5th, up 1), for example, swapped places with Uruguay (6th, down 1) after winning 3-2 away to Spain (9th, unchanged), while Norway (48th, up 4) moved into the top 50 after back-to-back victories and Russia (41st, up 5) maintained recent momentum by staying top of Group 2.
Gibraltar (190th, up 8), though, were undoubtedly October’s biggest Nations League success story, and their first-ever competitive wins against Armenia (101, down 1) and Lichtenstein (182, down 4) are reflected in a record Ranking position – and this month’s biggest rise.
The Gibraltarians are one of just six teams to have ascended more than five places, and the only team in Europe to have done so. The others all hail from Africa, where Egypt (58, up 6), Madagascar (100, up 6), Namibia (109, up 7), Zimbabwe (110, up 7) and Burundi (142, up 6) made significant gains on the back of strong results in CAF Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers.