The Red Devils are slated to recover the No. 1 slot in the International Football Federation (FIFA)’s world ranking, to be published on Thursday. Belgium, which had plunged as low as 71st place in June 2007, had already occupied 1rst place from November 2015 to April 2016, when Marc Wilmots was in charge of the team.
The Belgian squad occupied the No. 3 spot prior to the Russia World Cup, behind Germany and Brazil. After finishing third in Russia, Roberto Martinez’s Red Devils climbed up to 2nd place, on 3 points behind World Champions France at the latest ranking, published on 16 August.
Following decisive wins against Scotland (4-0) in a friendly match and Iceland (3-0) in a League of Nations fixture in early September, the Red Devils have finished on the same number of points as France, but should take the lead by a few decimal points in the new ranking, to be published on Thursday.
For their part, the world champions beat the Netherlands by 2-1, but had tied with Germany (0-0) a few days earlier.
Only seven nations have ever topped the FIFA’s ranking sinceit was created in 1993: Germany, Brazil, Italy, France, Argentina, the Netherlands and Belgium. Belgium and the Netherlands are the only ones never to have won the World Cup.
The Red Devils will play their next two matches in October. On the 12th, they meet Switzerland in the League of Nations and on the 16th, they come up against the Netherlands in a friendly.