Reggae Boyz end 2019 at number 48 in the world
Javon East (left) of Jamaica challenges Matthew Briggs (right) of Guyana during their Group C of League B fixture of the Concacaf Nations League at the Montego Bay Sports Complex on Monday, November 18, 2019. (PHOTO: Concacaf).
Jamaica's Reggae Boyz will end 2019 at number 48 in the FIFA world rankings due largely to their unbeaten record in Group C of League B of the Concacaf Nations League.
They are fourth in the Concacaf region behind Mexico (11th in the world), the USA (22nd in the world), and Costa Rica (46th).
The ranking puts the Reggae Boyz in a good position to qualify directly for the final round of the Concacaf World Cup Qualifiers, which is to begin next year.
On July 10, Concacaf announced a restructured qualifying format for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
The new format gives the top six teams in the region based on FIFA rankings automatic passage to the hexagonal round in which three teams will automatically qualify for the 2022 World Cup to be held in Qatar.
The rest will play to determine which nation meets the number four team in the hexagonal in a home-and-home playoff for the right to meet a nation from another region in another home-and-home playoff for a World Cup berth.
The Reggae Boyz finished the 2019 Nations League season with an unbeaten record of 5W-1D-0L and the top spot in the group and as a result will feature in League A in the next edition of the tournament.
The good run at the Concacaf Nations League handed the Reggae Boyz their highest position in the FIFA world rankings in eight years after moving to 45th in the October edition. Jamaica were ranked as high of 37th in 2011.
Meanwhile, Belgium have been crowned FIFA's Team of the Year for finishing top of the world rankings for the second December in a row.
Roberto Martinez's side will end 2019 at the top of the standings after winning all 10 of their international 'A' matches this year to secure qualification for Euro 2020.
World champions France conclude the year in second place, with Brazil third, England fourth and Uruguay fifth.
World Cup runners-up Croatia and Nations League Finals winners Portugal join Spain, Argentina and Colombia in the top 10.
The Mover of the Year accolade goes to Qatar, who gained 138 rankings points over the course of 2019.
The World Cup 2022 hosts won the Asian Cup in February as they climbed 38 places up the rankings. That was the biggest jump recorded by any team, ahead of Algeria (up 32) and Japan (up 22).
Europe's dominance of the top 50 has diminished this year. UEFA nations make up 28 of the top 50 teams, down three on last year, while CONCACAF, AFC and CAF (all with four) have each gained one place each.
The first FIFA rankings of the new decade will be released on February 20.