Argentina will end the year on top of the world, leading the way in the final FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking of 2016 from neighbours Brazil in second.
La Albiceleste therefore take the ‘Team of the Year’ title from Belgium, who they overtook at the summit in April this year, and where they have stayed for the subsequent eight editions of the Ranking.
In all, the Argentinians won ten of their 15 games in 2016, losing three and drawing twice.
Edgardo Bauza’s side are the ninth-best mover of 2016, but the title ‘Mover of the Year’ – the side that gained the most Ranking points since December 2015 - goes to UEFA EURO 2016 finalists France.
Les Bleus won 13 of their 17 games in 2016, drawing three, with their sole defeat their most significant for some years, in the continental finale after extra time against Portugal.
Indeed, the South Americans also shared the pain of defeat in their own continental showpiece event, losing to Chile on penalties in June.
Despite this shared negative experience, both now share a place in Ranking history, with their respective awards for 2016.
With only 15 men’s international ‘A’ games played since the release of the last Ranking, there have been few significant changes, with no movements inside or into the top ten.
The biggest winner of the month can be found much further down the table: Rwanda (92nd, plus 9).
Only three further teams, Indonesia (171st, plus 8), Myanmar (159th, plus 7), and Estonia (116th, plus 6) – have jumped more than five positions since the November edition.
Looking at the table in terms of places gained this year, Guinea-Bissau (68th, plus 78 spots since December 2015) and Curaçao (75th, plus 76 places since December 2015) are the biggest winners of 2016.
The African side had a stellar year, reaching their first-ever CAF Africa Cup of Nations, while the tiny Caribbean island nation secured several positive results in qualifying for next year’s Caribbean and CONCACAF Gold Cups.
Both teams also make the top ten in the ‘Mover of the Year’ table (below), in terms of points gained.
The regional shaping of the Ranking’s top 50 has taken on a different slant compared to this time last year.
Asia has increased its standing, with four teams now in the top 50 (plus 3), at the expense of Europe (28, minus one), Africa (7, minus 1), and CONCACAF (3, minus 1).
South America retains its standing as the proportional heavyweights, with 80 per cent of CONMEBOL teams in the top 50 (eight, the same as December 2015).
The next FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking will be published on Thursday 12 January 2017.
Leader: Argentina (unchanged)
Moves into top 10: none
Moves out of top 10: none
Matches played in total: 15
Most matches played: Indonesia, Thailand (6 matches each)
Biggest move by points: Rwanda (plus 37 points)
Biggest move by ranks: Rwanda (plus 9 ranks)
Biggest drop by points: Cuba, Nicaragua (minus 84 points each)
Biggest drop by ranks: Cuba (minus 26 ranks)
Newly ranked teams: none
Teams no longer ranked: none
Inactive teams, not ranked: none
’BEST MOVER’ TABLE
Rank World Ranking Team Points End of 2015 Points End of 2016
1 7 France 868 1305; +437
2 19 Peru 644 965; +321
3 15 Poland 776 1087; +311
4 68 Guinea-Bissau 207 515; +308
5 2 Brazil 1251 1544; +293
6 17 Costa Rica 759 1041; +282
7 75 Curaçao 192 467; +275
8 50 Burkina Faso 381 617; +236
9 1 Argentina 1455 1634; +179
10 54 Saudi Arabia 432 605; +173
10 59 Venezuela 408 581; +173