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What’s the story?

The Indian national football team have dropped in the latest FIFA rankings. The Blue Tigers, who enjoyed a four-month spell inside the FIFA top 100 since May this year, have fallen to 107th in the latest rankings, a six-month low.
At the top, Germany have leapfrogged Brazil to the top of the rankings. Portugal are right behind the top two, while Argentina and Belgium follow them.

In case you didn’t know…
India entered the FIFA top 100 for the first time in 2017 in May and have enjoyed an unprecedented extended spell there before today’s rankings brought them back down to earth.
Stephen Constantine’s men have posted impressive results in the recent past and are on an 11-match unbeaten run stretching back to 2016.

The heart of the matter
India played three matches which counted towards their September’s FIFA rankings. They won two of those and managed to draw against St Kitts & Nevis, but results elsewhere around the world meant that the Blue Tigers had to fall despite an unbeaten month.
Particularly impressive was Luxembourg’s stunning 0-0 draw against France in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers that saw the little European country leapfrog India to 101st.
India’s ten-place drop means they are below the likes of Zimbabwe and Faroe Islands and the 13th ranked team in Asia.

What’s next?
India’s friendly against Palestine, scheduled for 2nd October, has been canceled owing to the adverse affect of friendly matches on the rankings. India played Mauritius and St Kitts & Nevis last month but they still fell in the FIFA ladder. Palestine, ranked 91st, could cost India valuable FIFA rankings points if they beat the Blue Tigers and that could potentially have an impact on India’s AFC Cup 2019 chances.
The Blue Tigers host Macau in the AFC Asian Cup 2019 qualifiers on 10th October and are well placed to qualify for the finals in the UAE with three wins from three.

Author’s take
The volatile nature of the FIFA rankings mean that India’s drop to 107 doesn’t come as a huge surprise. However, another big drop could prove to be troublesome for the AIFF, whose meticulous calculations for the 2019 AFC Cup might be scuppered if other teams continue to overperform.

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