The latest FIFA rankings were published last week and as expected, Palestine’s recent form has begun to shine through.
Al-Fida’i is undefeated in 2017- setting a record mark of four straight wins in the time frame with 2019 AFC Asian Cup qualifying victories over Oman and Maldives and friendly victories against Yemen and Bahrain.
At 94th (11th in Asia) the national team is ranked above Asian rivals India, Jordan, Iraq, and Korea DPR- who round out the top 15. According to football-rankings.info this month marks the first time they are ranked above Jordan, or for that matter, Finland.
Palestine have been ranked inside FIFA’s top 100 on three separate occasions in 2014. They were ranked 94th following their 2014 AFC Challenge Cup triumph in May 2015, 85th three years ago, and 88th in August 2014 before slipping beneath the century mark,
Palestine have four more matches slated for 2017. They will travel to Thimphu in September to take on Bhutan for the first time in their history.
A win in that match could conceivably set up an interesting friendly in October between the two sides in Asia with the longest active winning streaks (India is currently on six wins and is expected to defeat Macau in September’s qualifying match).
Palestine then play host to Bhutan before closing 2017 with a home match against Maldives.
That would put Palestine at around 75th globally and into the Asian Top 10. Moreover, it would extend their current winning streak to eight matches and would give Al-Fida’i a 100% record in their last six competitive matches.
The national team would then enter 2018 with the fifth longest winning streak in Asian history although would be well short of the Asian- and world record- of 16 matches set by the UAE between 2012 and 2013.
Should they win out, Palestine would amass 459.26 ranking points a sizable increase on the 364 to their name today.
That point total would be more than enough to take them above Israel, who are projected to beat Macedonia and Lichtenstein but lose to Spain and Italy in World Cup qualifying. This would mark the first time in the history of the FIFA rankings that Palestine are ranked above Israel who benefit from the UEFA co-efficient in qualifying and the majority of their friendlies.