A sport with more than 4 billion passionate fans spread across all nations of the world, world football (soccer) is a sport known for galvanizing the interests and opinions of the public.
From big leagues that spend a lot of time in Europe to small leagues in Africa, the emotions evoked by star-studded games can be found even among games that do not receive significant media attention. This inspired our article on the best football nations in the world.
A wave of revolution has swept the football world in recent years. Some countries that are known to be home to energetic young talent have begun to rise through the ranks of countries that are in great rivalry with other prominent candidates for the best football nations.
An example of this undeniable fact was the appearance of Croatia as a finalist at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, to the surprise of football fans. The Croatian national team has never been considered a favorite even if it dominates its group, which is a much bigger progress towards the final of the most prestigious men's football tournament.
In this article, we will take a look at the top 11 football countries in the world. The ranking is based on the position of the FIFA World Ranking in recent years.
Under the leadership of head coach Kasper Hjulmand, Denmark's position in the FIFA World Rankings rose to 11th position.
The European champion from 1992 had a successful performance at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, until the penalty roulette kicked them out of the runner-up Croatia.
On the EURO they reached the semi-finals and lost to England in extra time. Christian Eriksen is back in the team after his incident on EURO and it is a massive boost for this team.
The Holland national team is a team that can boast of young talents making waves in the best football leagues in Europe. The composition also includes the best male player of UEFA 2019, Van Dijk. They participated in 10 World Cup tournaments, but failed to qualify for the 2018 event and they haven’t won a World Cup yet.
Their best success is 3rd place on the World Cup 2014 in Brazil. According to the latest FIFA World Rankings, they are ranked 10th in the world. Besides Van Dijk, the team of talents also includes the young defender of Juventus, Matthijs de Ligt, and the stars of Barcelona, Frankie de Jong and Memphis Depay.
The pressure on these players is big as whole nation expect from them to bring the glory back to Netherland’s national football team.
The Mexican national team is one of the best in the world from the CONCACAF zone. The 9th -ranked team in the FIFA World Cup has qualified for all of the 1994 FIFA World Cups and reached the quarter-finals of the last seven FIFA World Cups.
They have also won two of the most prestigious tournaments in world football, the Summer Olympics and the Confederations Cup.
Portugal is ranked the 8th best football team in FIFA, in the last round of the classification. The team has been prolific in recent years, winning Euro 2016 as well as the inaugural UEFA League of Nations.
The key players who have made a huge contribution to the success are five-time Ballon d'Or winner Cristiano Ronaldo and Manchester City midfielder Bernardo Silva. However, the next World Cup might be their last so they will want to make it count for sure.
Nicknamed La Furia Roja (The Red Fury), the Spaniards are usually deadly and furious on the pitch. The team is one of the most successful football teams in Europe. They have participated in every World Cup since 1978 and have won the FIFA World Cup 2010. La Furia Roja has been crowned European champion three times.
They are currently ranked 7th in the FIFA World Rankings. Although the Spaniards are in the phase of changing the generations, the manager Luis Enrique found balance and the team is showing some good performance recently.
They played in the semi-finals of EURO and finished 2nd in the League of Nations. Now the players are experienced and now how it is to compete in major tournaments so Spain can certainly dream of big success in the World Cup.
European champion Italy is 6th on FIFA rankings. It may sound unreal but Italy will miss the World Cup in Qatar. They were playing in the playoff and incredibly lost in the semi finals to North Macedonia on home ground in Palermo.
This will be the second World Cup in a row that 4 times winner Italy will miss out. It is a huge blow for such a football nation and especially right after winning the EURO.
Under the manager Gareth Southgate, the England national football team found the form. At the 2018 World Cup, England had an impressive series until the semifinals, where Croatia beat them.
In addition, in the first edition of the UEFA League of Nations, they finished in third place. They were amazing in the last EURO and they almost won it on home ground at Wembley but Italy spoiled the fun and England finished 2nd.
As a rule England had great cup qualifications but they are missing something in the big competitions. We will see how they will react to the World Cup after such experience in the EURO. England is ranked 5th place on FIFA list.
The Argentinian national football team always goes to World cups with the same ambition and motivation to win it. Perhaps in the next World Cup in Qatar they will have motivation plus as most likely it will be the last World Cup for Lionel Messi.
They won the last Copa America competition and were pretty good in the qualifications which means their confidence is high. Argentina is 4th on FIFA rankings at the moment.
In the 3rd position on FIFA rankings we have the current World Cup Champions, France. They are also current winners of the League of Nations.
There is no need for many descriptions for World Champions, they are one of the most regular participants on World Cups and they have one 2 so far. In Qatar they will try to defend the trophy which will be a really difficult challenge.
Die Roten Teufel (Red Devils) is one of the best national football teams in world football. The team is currently ranked first in the FIFA World Rankings as 2nd.
At the 2018 FIFA World Cup, they beat England to take the bronze which is theirs best result on World Cups. The team is full with top talents including Romelu Lukaku, Kevin de Bruyne, Yannick Carrasco, Thomas Meunier, goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, etc.
Of course, they are part of the World Cup in Qatar and maybe it’s the last big competition for this generation of players to achieve something more.
Elite football country. No dilemma. Cream of cream. There are few countries that are synonymous with football. Brazil is one of those countries.
When it comes to national football teams Brazil is always ranked among the best. Currently they are on the 1st position on FIFA ranking mostly thanks to recent results and results in the World Cup qualifications.
Brazil is certainly among the most serious favorites for winning the World Cup in Qatar.
Maybe it is most noticeable that Germany, USA, Colombia, and Japan aren’t among the 11 best at the moment, but as we said football is a global game and some “smaller” countries are very big in terms of football.
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Cristiano Ronaldo's last World Cup
Even Ronaldo has suggested this will be his last World Cup, telling Bein Sports: "I expect Qatar could be my final World Cup." Ronaldo is Portugal's most-capped player with 193 appearances - a European record too - and their all-time top scorer with 118 goals at the time of writing.
The highest ever goals to game ratio was set during the 1954 World Cup in Switzerland, where an average of 5.38 goals were scored in each of the 26 games. Some of the highest scoring games during this tournament included Austria 7-5 Switzerland and Hungary 9-0 South Korea.
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“It's a day of great satisfaction, but tomorrow we'll get down to business.” It seems unlikely that Ronaldo will make the 2026 World Cup given he turns 38 in February and is no longer playing in Europe. However, the 2024 European Championship are a possibility as they start in less than 18 months.