Germany continue to lead the FIFA world rankings after a slew of fixtures on the international calendar. The Oct. 23 update, which comes after competitive qualifiers in Europe, Africa and the CONCACAF region, has seen plenty of movement shake the table up.
Former No. 1 Spain stand on the brink of dropping out of the top 10, while the likes of Belgium, France and Portugal continue to progress among the elite.
Here's a look at the updated top 25 and a rundown of those who have gained or dropped the most places since the last update on Sept. 18:
|FIFA World Rankings: October 23, 2014.|
As ever, FIFA's points methodology highlights why certain teams have dropped despite positive results. The "World Cup cycle" formula continues to be utilised, meaning the four-year period between tournaments is judged and not just recent scorelines.
This means that England's losses to the Netherlands and Sweden in 2011 will continue to be calculated alongside recent wins against San Marino and Estonia. Due to the lack of points on offer against the minnows, a drop has taken place despite improved form. Be sure to check FIFA's fact sheet for more information.
Points are currently deduced through the following formula: Result x Importance of Match x Strength of Opposition x Confederation Strength = Total Points.
The conclusion of the 2014 World Cup saw a new weighting system introduced. Points awarded are currently multiplied on the following difficulty scale: CONMEBOL 1.00; UEFA 0.99; AFC, CAF, OFC and CONCACAF 0.85, per the governing body's official website. You can check an in-depth breakdown of the system right here.
Despite losing to Poland and drawing with the Republic of Ireland, Germany continue to set the pace at the top. Joachim Low's side has dropped 96 points, however, a hefty total considering Armenia lost the most of all nations with 124, according to FIFA.
Even so, the Germans appear overjoyed at their current position:
Argentina also dropped, meaning an excellent opportunity to close significant ground has been missed. The 2-0 loss to Brazil plays a part in the World Cup finalists dropping 66 points of their own despite the 7-0 win over Hong Kong.
Colombia have maintained their advantage over the Netherlands in third after scoring wins over El Salvador and Canada. These are not the toughest opponents, but the Oranjes' narrow victory over Kazakhstan and loss to Iceland sees Guus Hiddink's side drop below Belgium to fifth.
Brazil remain in sixth and have a healthy 116-point lead over a re-emerging France side that beat Portugal and Armenia in its two qualifiers. The Portuguese have enjoyed a questionable rise from 11th to ninth despite winning just one of three matches after a miserable showing at the World Cup. This is where the four-year cycle comes into play.
As previously mentioned, England's drop to 20th is an example of points accumulated diminishing in value over time. Despite going unbeaten in its last five matches—and overcoming the higher-ranked Swiss—Roy Hodgson's team remains in the same position it occupied after the World Cup and two places lower than last month.
Duncan Alexander of OptaJoe highlights how the rankings are open to interpretation:
Algeria (15th, up 5), Iceland (28th, up 6), Antigua and Barbuda (70th, up 10) and Belgium have landed their highest-ever rankings this month, per FIFA. Here's the biggest losers and winners from the rest of the list:
|FIFA World Rankings: Biggest Movers, Oct. 23, 2014.|
|49.||Trinidad and Tobago||598||+37|
FIFA social media manager Alex Stone noted the achievement of Togo:
The next set of rankings will be released on Nov. 27 after another round of qualifying and friendly fixtures. Germany will look to return to winning ways with a strong set of results, while teams such as the Netherlands, Spain and Switzerland have a job to do if they are to avoid free-falling.
This is undoubtedly the most significant month of change after the initial World Cup update, meaning there's plenty of places to be gained across the next four weeks.