In First, Palestinian National Soccer Team Tops Israel in FIFA World Rankings

The Israeli team fell to 98th place while the Palestinian team rose to 82nd

Soccer players on the Palestinian soccer team celebrate a win in a match against Bhutan in the AFC Asian Cup qualifiers. Hebron, October 10, 2017
Soccer players on the Palestinian soccer team celebrate a win in a match against Bhutan in the AFC Asian Cup qualifiers. Hebron, October 10, 2017 MUSSA ISSA QAWASMA/REUTERS

For the first time in history the Palestinian national soccer team has outranked the Israeli national soccer team on FIFA's world rankings.

The Israeli national soccer team was in 98th place out of 211 spots, its worst-ever ranking. It fell 16 spots from the last ranking, and 43 spots from 55th place in 2016.

The Palestinian national soccer team rose on the list and landed in 82nd place, overtaking Israel on the table.

The Palestinian team has been increasingly successful since their historic Asian Football Confederation Asia cup debut in 2015, a FIFA brief on the team's success writes. Since then, 41-year-old coach Abdel Nasser Barakat has been winning matches in the qualifying games for the 2019 Asian Cup.

Nassar told FIFA that "itโ€™s a great performance by Palestine, but we need to back it up by continuing to work. We want to end the Asian Cup qualifiers as we started. Itโ€™s important for the team before the draw for the finals."

The top 5 teams were Germany, Brazil, Portugal, Argentina and Belgium. Spain fell to sixth place, after which came Poland, Switzerland, France and Chile in the top 10.