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Updated: Mangia delighted as Malta named third most-improved team in FIFA rankings

Malta head coach Devis Mangia said that he was pleased with the progress done by the national team in 2020 which saw the side become the third most-improved team in the 2020 FIFA World Rankings.

Devis Mangia’s team registered an improvement of 32 points, at the back of a string of positive performances in the UEFA Nations League, with the national team suffering just one defeat in six games, coupled with a number of positive performances in other friendly matches.

Only Hungary and Ecuador registered stronger improvements, climbing 44 and 41 points respectively.

“Despite all the difficulties created by COVID-19, it was a positive year in terms of the performances and results achieved,” Mangia told the Times of Malta.

“It is important to stress that we are still at the start of this project and we are aware that there will be difficulties along the way.

“Nevertheless, Malta’s progress in the FIFA world rankings is a very positive indication that we are on the right track.

“I would like to thank all the players and staff for their commitment and contribution.”

Malta ended the year in 176th place after a record-breaking showing in the UEFA Nations League.

In fact, the team managed to collect a record tally of nine points that saw him finish second in the group, just behind leaders, the Faroe Islands, who earned promotion to League C.

The national team will now be hopeful of further scaling the heights in 2021 when they will be involved in a very demanding World Cup qualifying campaign.

In fact, the national team were drawn in Group H along with Croatia, Russia, Slovenia, Slovakia and Cyprus who are all ranked in the world’s top 100.

Belgium ended the year on top of the FIFA World Rankings for the third consecutive year.

Winners of six of their eight matches in 2020, the Red Devils are not the only ones to see their position unchanged.

Their three immediate pursuers – France (2nd), Brazil (3rd) and England (4th) – retain their respective rankings. The only change in the top five compared to 2019 is the appearance of Portugal in fifth place.

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