Following the exit of the Super Eagles at the group stage of the just concluded World Cup finals in Russia, Nigeria was ranked in 25th position in the tournament won by France for the second time in their football history.
According to the records from FIFA statistics department and made available yesterday, 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.
From the record monitored yesterday, aside winners, France, runner up, Croatia and Belgium who triumphed against England in the third placed match which automatically announced the first four positions, host Russia placed fifth with Sweden, Brazil, Uruguay and Colombia all followed as quarter finalist in the tournament.
Switzerland, Japan, Mexico, Denmark all followed just as former champions, Spain who were eliminated by Russia in the second round via lottery of penalty shootout placed 14th while Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal ended up in the 15th position with Argentina tailing 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 defending champion, Germany has to tail 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 in 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 $38million while finalist Croatia collected $28million. Belgium and England were awarded $24million and $22million respectively.
All the quarter finalists were paid $16million each just as teams that crashed out in the second round were awarded $12million 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.