Argentina celebrates FIFA ranking dominance amid Messi doubts

The Albiceleste looks as strong as ever in the build-up to the 2024 Copa America, but concerns linger over the superstar’s health

Lionel Messi came in to the game in the second half against Paraguay.

Argentina’s men’s national football team is celebrating one year on top of the football world on Thursday, as FIFA’s latest national team rankings show. The Albiceleste, which took the top spot for the fifth time in its history four months after its Qatar 2022 win, remains number one after the international football double header that took place between the 18 and 26 of March. 

The FIFA Men’s World Ranking lists the top men’s national teams according to a points system that is awarded based on the results of FIFA-recognized international matches, including tournaments and friendlies. Argentina overtook Brazil as the top-ranked country after friendlies against Curaçao and Panama in March 2023.

Qatar 2022 runner-up France is second, while Belgium overtook England to complete the podium. Brazil, the only other Conmebol nation in the top 10, ranks fifth, followed by Portugal, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy and Croatia. The United States and Colombia were left on the outside looking in, sitting 11th and 12th, while the biggest winner of the latest ranking was Indonesia, whose back-to-back wins against Vietnam in the 2026 World Cup Qualifiers saw it jump eight places to 134th.

Copa America preparations and doubts over Messi

Argentina will arrive at the 2024 Copa America in the US as the defending champions. The tournament, set to kickoff on June 20 and run all the way to July 14, could be an important landmark for the Albiceleste

Argentine Football Association (AFA) boss Claudio “Chiqui” Tapia shared an account of a recent meeting with head coach Lionel Scaloni in a post on X. According to the AFA site, they discussed “important details regarding the logistics and work setup [in the U.S.] during the team’s stay.”

The World Cup-winning coach set off alarms in November of last year following Argentina’s 1-0 win against Brazil by saying he wanted to “think things through.” Thankfully, it all turned out alright for the Albiceleste squad as Scaloni later confirmed he was staying as Albiceleste boss.

However, fans now worry over captain and superstar Lionel Messi. He has struggled to stay healthy after a hamstring issue saw him come out of a 2026 World Cup Qualifier match against Ecuador in September 2023.

Since then, Messi has missed 13 combined games for Argentina and club team Inter Miami. It’s been one of the worst seasons in his career in regards to fitness, with Inter head coach Gerardo Martino confirming the Argentine is on a “game to game” basis when it comes to availability after it was confirmed he’d miss the Herons class with Mexican side Monterrey in the CONCACAF Champions Cup.

With Qatar 2022-winner Ángel Di María having already confirmed that the 2024 Copa America will be his last defending his national colors, fans fear Messi could choose a similar path.


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