It may have been evident from the recent shock loss to Qatar but now it’s official: the Socceroos are at an all-time low.
Football’s world governing body FIFA released its monthly rankings on Thursday and for the Australian men it wasn’t pretty reading, the Socceroos down to No.94 in the world.
It is a new low for the men’s team, who haven’t been as far down the pecking order since official rankings were regularly calculated from 1993.
The previous nadir was back in June 2000 when Soccer Australia was starting to implode and the national team slumped to No.92 in the world.
But just to show how much difference a year can make, the Socceroos had cut their ranking in half and were back to world No.46 by July 2001.
Five years ago the Socceroos reached their peak, making the dizzy heights of No.14 in September 2009 shortly after qualifying for the following year’s World Cup.
Australia’s current ranking has them positioned as the 11th rated team in Asia, behind the likes of Oman, China and Qatar.
On a world scale the Socceroos are trailing countries such as Benin (86), Haiti (93) and Estonia (88) – population 1.3 million.
The ten-place slump from last month’s rankings came after the Socceroos’ 1-0 loss to Qatar in Doha and an uninspiring 0-0 draw with the United Arab Emirates.
While new coach Ange Postecoglou won plaudits for his side’s better-than-expected performances in their three defeats at the World Cup – there are far greater expectations against sides in Asia – the weakest confederation outside Oceania in world football.
Postecoglou had predicted that his side would suffer in the short to medium term as he pulled the pin on a number of older, established players in the Socceroos’ set-up and looked to build a more youthful team that could be judged by the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
“In my mind we’re still making progress,” he said after the Qatar defeat.
“We’re still giving some really good experience to some of the players who haven’t had that sort of top-level intensity before.”
Since his appointment in October last year, Australia has managed two wins, two draws and seven losses.
Much hangs on the Socceroos’ performance at January’s Asian Cup to be held on the east coast of Australia, with anything less than an appearance in the final likely to be deemed a failure.
FFA chairman Frank Lowy made his ambitions clear this time last year, before the appointment of Postecoglou.
“The objective is definitely to be the No.1 team in Asia. There is no question about it,” he said.
Australia’s next match is a friendly against Japan in Osaka on November 18.