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India jump 26 places in Fifa rankings

India national football team jumped 26 places to occupy the 147th spot in the latest Fifa rankings issued on Thursday. The upward movement is due to India’s decent show against Nepal in Round One of the ongoing 2018 World Cup Qualifiers.

other Updated: Apr 10, 2015 14:23 IST
HT Correspondent

India national football team jumped 26 places to occupy the 147th spot in the latest Fifa rankings issued on Thursday. The upward movement is due to India’s decent show against Nepal in Round One of the ongoing 2018 World Cup Qualifiers.

Over the two legs, the Stephen Constantine-coached India beat Nepal, who dropped one place to be at 181, 2-0 at home before a goalless draw on the road. The win gave India 318.75 points and the draw, another 106.25 points.

The last time India managed such a climb was in February 1996 when they jumped 30 places. That was a year after India finished runners-up in the South Asian Football Federation Gold Cup (now the SAFF Championship), which helped them achieve their best ranking of 94.

Interestingly, India’s best position in 1997, the year India won the SAFF meet, was 109. The seeming anomaly is due to varying importance assigned to different tournaments considered for rankings.

The ongoing World Cup qualifiers also act as the qualification for the 2019 Asian Cup. If India advance to the second round of the qualifiers, and then manage to finish among the top two of their group, they can secure a spot in the Asian Cup finals to be held in the UAE.

Bhutan were the best movers in the new list, leaping 46 spots, from the bottom to 163. Bhutan had defeated Sri Lanka (now 186) twice, home and away, in the qualifiers recently.