The Blue Tigers lost two consecutive friendly matches recently.

On 31st March, the latest FIFA Rankings were released by the supreme governing body of the sport. India were previously in the 104th position (as of February 10, 2022). According to the new FIFA Rankings, India have gone down two places, from 104 to 106. Perhaps the results in the recent friendlies have led the way to the demotion.

Last year, the Blue Tigers went on to win the SAFF Championship. After that campaign, Igor Stimac’s side played two friendlies this year on the 23rd and 26th of March against Bahrain and Belarus respectively. The Blue Tigers considered this pair of matches as a preparatory tour prior to the AFC Asian Cup Third Round Qualifiers in June.

India lost both the games, 2-1 and 3-0, respectively. The solitary goal in the friendlies came from Rahul Bheke’s head. This was Bheke’s first national goal. Also, worthy of mention was the person who assisted this goal – Naorem Roshan Singh, who debuted in national colours.

Nevertheless, both Bahrain and Belarus were well ahead of India. Belarus were 94th and have now moved up a position. Meanwhile, Bahrain see no change to their place (89).

The Blue Tigers will be playing the AFC Asian Cup Third Round qualifiers in June. Certainly, this drop in FIFA rankings can be labelled as a setback for India. 

The best FIFA ranking India attained was in 1996, when they were elevated to the 94th position. Speaking of the recent years, the Blue Tigers were ranked 96 in 2017.

Among other Asian countries, there has been a downfall in FIFA Rankings for China, who have gone down two places from 75 to 77. Titans of the continent, Japan and South Korea have their positions unchanged on 23rd and 29th respectively. Additionally, Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan have been promoted from the 85th and 96th positions to the 83rd and 95th place.

However, the best-ranked AFC side are Iran, whose position has remained fixated in the last two updates (February 10 and March 31) at 21.

Speaking of other notable changes, after almost four years (25th October 2018 to-date), Belgium have lost their superiority after being demoted to the second position. 

South American side Brazil are the new toppers of the chart. Mexico, on the other hand, have moved up three places from 12 to 9. Four-time World Cup champions Germany see themselves drop to the 12th spot. On the other hand, the Netherlands see no change to their 10th position.

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