- Slovenia end on high in women's ranking top 50
- Nepal the biggest mover of the year
- FIFA.com looks at some of the ranking's top movers of 2019
It has been a massive year for the women’s game, where it shone in the spotlight and grew under the watchful gaze of the world.
While there were the headline moments, there were unsurprisingly plenty of stories from across the globe that show the life of the game on a wider scale.
The FIFA/Coca-Cola Women’s World Ranking is a great place to see high achievers and steady climbers both come to the fore. We’ve run down a few of the biggest movers across 2019 from up and down the table to wrap up the last year of action.
Biggest movers: Top 50
⏫ Up 5 places – Slovenia (50)
While just edging into the top 50 in the final ranking of the year, the move saw Slovenia reach a new all-time high in the women’s table. The main catalyst for this came at the Istria Cup in March. Seeing off favourites Ukraine and Serbia, they climbed their first win at the invitational.
“Congratulations to the players who have played all three games bravely and smartly,” coach Borut Jarc said following victory. “I think that the players now have a good foundation. They can take another step forward, to step up and qualify for the European Championship!”
They’ve started that quest brightly, in what at present stands as a three-horse race for at least a play-off spot. Russia and Kosovo are their main challengers as they seek a place at a first major finals.
📈 4 – Netherlands (3), Sweden (5), Belgium (17), Iceland (18), Poland (30)
Since a disappointing Algarve Cup, the Netherlands have been incredible. Winning 15 out of their 16 games after their stint in Portugal, the only downside is that the one defeat was the FIFA Women’s World Cup Final. They didn’t let that loss dent their confidence, however, coasting straight into a perfect start to EURO 2021 qualifying.
Sweden have enjoyed a similarly special year, with only defeats to the Dutch and United States denting what was a stellar 2019 as they left France with bronze.
Belgium bounced back from narrowly missing out on the World Cup by going unbeaten throughout 2019 in all but a friendly defeat to world champions USA. Iceland similarly dismissed any lingering disappointment with a perfect start to EURO qualifying.
Poland, meanwhile, enjoyed a fantastic start to the year by upset the likes of Spain and the Netherlands to finish as runners-up in the Algarve Cup to propel them up the ranking.
Biggest movers: Overall
⬆️ 11 – Nepal (97)
Nepal enjoyed a steady rise over the year to be the ranking’s top mover in 2019. Only twice have they finished December in a higher spot and were spurred on by their run to the final of the SAFF Women’s Championship in March.
A defeat to India in that game, as well as in December’s South Asian Games, sees them hoping to soon defy the staggering population difference and taste some regional glory soon.
🆙 9 –Cook Islands (100), Samoa (104)
Across in the Pacific, there were similar stories of outsiders challenging regional supremacy. Samoa had never reached the final of the Pacific Games’ football tournament before, and treated home fans to a near-fairytale when hosting the competition in July.
A narrow defeat to regional heavyweights Papua New Guinea – who also denied Cook Islands a first final spot – saw them clinch a maiden football medal at the multi-sport event.