Big Movers of 2003
France moved to the top of the rankings overtaking Brazil who lost the Gold Cup final to hosts Mexico while the Czech Republic moved into 3rd place.
Peru, who were formidable at home, climbed the most in the rankings. Their most satisfying results were a 4-1 victory over Paraguay and a 1-1 draw against World champions Brail in World Cup qualifiers. They beat Chile 3-0 at home and defeated Venezuela 1-0 and Mexico 3-1 both in the USA.
Greece moved up in the rankings mostly on the strength of two European qualifiers where they hit a double at Northern Ireland and more significantly stunned Spain with a single goal.
Oman impressed on their way to the Asian Cup, putting 6 past Vietnam in South Korea and later shocking the South Koreans 3-1 in a home match to finish above them in their group.
Egypt had their scoring boots on in home qualifiers for the Africa Cup of Nations hitting Madagascar for six and Mauritius for seven. They also hammered Qatar 6-0 in a home friendly.
Seychelles not only sent Zimbabwe away 2-1 losers in an African qualifier but also held their Zambian hosts to a 1-1 draw in a World Cup qualifier. Among other good results was their goalless draw in a friendly away to Mauritius.
UAE did the double over Syria 3-1 in Asian Cup qualifiers and even won a friendly 2-0 against Kuwait in Kuwait City.
Poland moved in the right direction thanks to 2-0 and 2-1 wins away to Latvia and Hungary respectively in Euro qualifiers and a 3-1 victory over Italy in a Warsaw friendly.
Czech Republic finished the year without receiving any negative points in the rankings and qualified for Euro 2004 ahead of the Netherlands whom they drew 1-1 away and defeated 3-1 at home. Among friendly matches they beat France 2-0 in Saint Denis and smashed Turkey 4-0 at home.
Bhutan hosted and won their group in the preliminary round of the Asian Cup after demolishing Guam 6-0 and holding Mongolia to a goalless draw. In the qualifying round the lowest ranked Asian side achieved some respectable results in Saudi Arabia losing on 2 occasions 2-0 to Indonesia and also letting in only 4 goals against their hosts.
Norway moved down the most in the rankings losing 1-0 in Bosnia & Herzegovina and 3-0 at home to Spain in Euro qualifiers. A narrow 1-0 home win over Luxembourg was also a low point for the Norwegians.
Ghana finished bottom of their qualifying group for the Africa Cup of Nations after losing 1-0 in Rwanda and drawing 1-1 at home to Uganda. They also lost a friendly 3-1 at home to Kenya.
Liberia lost 1-0 away to Ethiopia and Niger and 2-1 to Guinea in a match played in Ghana finishing bottom of their group. They lost a World Cup qualifier 2-0 in Gambia but did however salvage some pride with a 3-0 win in the return fixture.
Colombia were beaten 1-0 at home to Venezuela and thumped 4-0 in Bolivia in World Cup qualifiers and also drew 1-1 with Guatemala in a Gold Cup match in Miami.
South Korea were stunned 1-0 by Vietnam in an Asian qualifier in Oman where they also lost 3-1 to their hosts.
Belarus were hammered 5-0 in Austria and lost 2-1 in Moldova in European qualifiers.
Madagascar lost 2-0 at home to Mauritius and were taken apart 6-0 in Egypt in African qualifiers.
The most surprising result of the year was little Bhutan's 6-0 thrashing of Guam. Bosnia and Herzegovina's 2-0 Euro qualifier victory in Denmark was also a big shock.
The highest score of the year was Vanuatu's 18-0 demolition of Kiribati, who are not part of the rankings, in the South Pacific Games while, New Caledonia shattered the Federated State of Micronesia, who are also not in the rankings, 18-0 in the same competition in Fiji. The hapless Micronesians had been taken apart 17-0 by Tahiti two days before that. South Korea's 16-0 humiliation of Nepal in an Asian qualifier was the highest score of the year among teams from the rankings.
Two new countries entered the rankings with Reunion occupying the 136th and Afghanistan the 200th place.