The USWNT dropped to its lowest FIFA world ranking in history after an early exit from the World Cup

The USWNT lost to Sweden in the Round of 16 at the 2023 Women’s World Cup. (AP Photo/Hamish Blair)

For the first time since 2017, the United States Women’s National Soccer Team is not ranked No. 1 in the world.

USWNT dropped to number 3 in the FIFA world rankings after Sweden knocked the USA out of the 2023 World Cup in the round of 16. It is the lowest ranking for the USA since FIFA introduced its women’s ranking system in 2003.

Sweden jumped two places to first place after finishing third in the tournament, while World Cup champions Spain are in second place after four places. England, the tournament’s number two, remained in fourth place ahead of France, Germany and the Netherlands. The Germans dropped four places from second place after being eliminated in the group stage.

Before moving to No. 1 in 2017, the United States was ranked No. 2. The USA has topped the FIFA women’s rankings for a total of 13 years.

This year’s Round of 16 exit was the USA’s worst World Cup finish. The USWNT won back-to-back World Cups in 2015 and 2019, but has dealt with injuries and poor coaching in 2023. The team looked sloppy during the group stage matches and barely advanced to the next round against Sweden.

Shortly after the loss, USWNT manager Vlatko Andonovski resigned after four years.

The FIFA rankings also indicate a growing feeling in the soccer world that Spain and England — not the United States — are the new “gold standard” for women playing the sport. But still, the USWNT has created an incredible legacy for the sport in the United States, even if some of it has come with a bit of domestic vitriol.

But it’s not like the team is without talent. Sophia Smith is a great offensive player, Trinity Rodman looked like a rising star, and Naomi Girma played amazing defensively. The U.S. will have four years to sort things out before the 2027 World Cup — more than enough time to right the ship. It will no longer be alone with Spain, England and Sweden all trying to gain supremacy.

Ferdinand Medina

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