The United States men’s national team rose one spot to 27th in the December FIFA rankings despite losses the previous month to Colombia and Ireland.
The Americans were ranked 14th at the end of 2013 and rose to as high as 13th in February, April and June before the World Cup, where they advanced to the second round and lost to Belgium in overtime.
The top teams remained unchanged in this month’s rankings, released Thursday. World champion Germany was first, followed by Argentina, Colombia, Belgium, the Netherlands and Brazil.
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Earlier this month, U.S. Soccer confirmed several high-profile friendlies in the first half of next year to prepare the men’s national team for the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
The schedule will included at least seven games between January and June in order to allow U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann to assess the options at his disposal before the tournament starts in July, according to sources familiar with the plans.
World Cup winners Germany, Chile, Mexico and Netherlands highlight the list of opponents, while the team will make two trips to Europe and one excursion to South American in addition to its usual slate of home matches.
The group will travel to Chile on Jan. 28 to open the year before returning to the U.S. to play CONCACAF rivals Panama on Feb. 8.
The slate continues with a trip to Europe during the FIFA international window in March. The two-game excursion will start in Denmark (Mar. 25) before wrapping up in Switzerland (Mar. 31).