FIFA has ranked Nigeria 25th in the just-concluded World Cup finals in Russia after its untimely exit from the tournament won by France for the second time in their football history.
According to the records from FIFA statistics department and made available Wednesday, the failure of the Mikel Obi-led team to survive the late surge by Lionel Messi’s Argentina side in the last group match played at Saint Petersburg means that the team’s ranking at the quadrennial was better at the Brazil edition held in 2014 where Nigeria was eliminated in the second round by France.
A report Straightnews monitored from Thisday, showed aside the winners, France, Croatia, the runner up and Belgium which triumphed against England in the third place match automatically occupied the first four positions, host Russia placed fifth with Sweden, Brazil, Uruguay and Colombia all followed as quarter finalists in the tournament.
Switzerland, Japan, Mexico, Denmark all followed just as former champions, Spain which were eliminated by Russia in the second round via lottery of penalty shootout are placed 14th while Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal ended up in the 15th position with Argentina trailing behind in 16th position.
The Teranga Lions of Senegal are the first African to emerged from the ranking with 17th position after a painful elimination by Japan who survived the qualification from the group via the ‘Fair Play’ rule used to break the tie.
The Carthage Eagles of Tunisia were ranked 19th just as the then defending champion, Germany has to trail Korea Republic in 22nd position and Iceland followed Nigeria 26th position just as the Arab quartet of Iran, Morocco, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, in descending order were the least of the 32 teams.
FIFA statistics also revealed that of the 64 matches played, a total of 169 goals were scored which represent 2.64 per match and 12 own goals and 29 penalty kicks were taken out of which 22 was scored and seven were missed.
A total of seven free kicks were scored while four red cards were issued and a staggering 219 yellow cards were issued by the referees in all the 64 matches.
The winner of the tournament, France were awarded $38 million while finalist Croatia collected $28 million. Belgium and England were given $24 million and $22 million respectively.
All the quarter finalists were paid $16 million each just as teams that crashed out in the second round were awarded $12 million each and Super Eagles of Nigeria and the rest of African representatives alongside all the other participants that failed to go beyond the group phase all received $8 million each for participation.