India’s football team has achieved its best FIFA ranking since February 1996 — it has been placed 96th in the July rankings released on Thursday.
India’s best ranking till date was 94, which was attained in February 1996, while 99 was India’s second-best (November 1993).
India have risen by four spots in the past month after their impressive showing during the international break in June when they notched up a 2-0 friendly win over Nepal and a 1-0 win over Kyrgyzstan in the 2019 AFC Asian Cup qualifiers group match.
The national team have been on an upsurge with a string of good results leading to a climb of 77 places in FIFA rankings over the last two years.
The Indians have now won 13 of their last 15 matches and are unbeaten in the last eight matches — including an unofficial match against Bhutan.
India were ranked 171 when coach Stephen Constantine took over as national team coach for the second time in February 2015.
The rank slipped further to 173 in March 2015 in the FIFA ladder even before Constantine could have his first game in charge against Nepal, which India eventually won 2-0 on aggregate.
As far as Asia is concerned, India are the 12th ranked team while Iran continues to lead the chart at the 23rd spot.
“When I took over, I had mentioned that my target was to bring India below 100. I am happy to have played a small part in this process. Kudos to the boys, the staff and a big thank you to my colleagues in AIFF for supporting us all throughout,” Constantine told the official website of the All India Football Federation (AIFF).
Sports Minister Vijay Goel said: “”We are going through a golden period of football and the best is yet to come.”
AIFF President Praful Patel also congratulated the team. “It’s a giant leap of faith for Indian football. Two years back, we were 173 and now we have reached our second best FIFA ranking ever. The leap signifies the potential of Indian football. Congratulations to the National Team boys, the Coach, the staff and all in AIFF.”