MUMBAI: The Indian men’s team continued to be ranked 102 in the world in the latest FIFA rankings, which were released on Thursday. Igor Stimac’s side also remained 18th in Asia, following an international break where they won one game and lost one.
India got their 2026 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign off to a perfect start, with a 1-0 win in Kuwait City, thanks to Manvir Singh’s late winner. However, they were brought back down to earth by Asian champions Qatar soon after, crashing to a 3-0 defeat in Bhubaneswar.
As a consequence of those two results, India gained 1.96 points this month, for a total of 1200.8, which is 1.97 points behind the next best team – Kosovo. Kosovo have 1202.77 points, having gained 12.03 points this month, following a win over Israel and a draw against Switzerland, both opponents ranked higher than them.
The highest India have been ranked this year is 99th – which was in July, following their Intercontinental Cup and SAFF Championship victories. At that time, India had 1208.69 points.
However, losses to Lebanon and Malaysia in September and October have proved to be costly, with both being lower-ranked opponents, and hence subjecting India to a larger decrease in FIFA ranking points.
Stimac’s side will next be in action at the AFC Asian Cup in January, where they take on Australia, Uzbekistan, and Syria in Group B. They will play Australia in their opening game in Al-Rayyan on January 13, followed by Uzbekistan at the same venue on January 18, and then will conclude the group stage against Syria at Al-Bayt Stadium on January 23.
All three of those teams are ranked higher than India – Australia are 25th, Uzbekistan 68th and Syria 91st, so even avoiding losses in those games will give India a larger increase in points.
Stimac said that he doesn’t consider the AFC Asian Cup as an important tournament for India. But with what’s at stake, its importance cannot be understated.
Meanwhile, world champions Argentina remain atop the standings, with France, England, Belgium and Brazil rounding out the top five.