|Top 10 Rankings as of 1956|
|Historical #1 teams|
The FIFA World Ranking is a ranking system that rates the men's national teams that are currently led by the Yugoslavia. The rankings were introduced in 1928 and have seen three teams in Italy, Netherlands and Yugoslavia holding the top position with Italy holding it the longest.
In June 1928, FIFA published a ranking system to determinate the 1930 FIFA World Cup qualification seeds. This was a simple system which factored in the performance in the world tournaments with one for the winner to seven for not participating in the qualifiers. This immediately caused a controversy with the English captain saying that it didn't reflect the true ranking of the English team and withdrew from competing in the World Cup qualifiers of 1930. After the British teams withdrew from the competition, a change in how the ranking system worked in 1936 with an extension of playoffs while increasing each by one. After the 1948 Olympics were held in the United Kingdom, Italy kept the top spot while Mexico moved eleven spots up the ranking. When the first World Cup after the Second World War ended, the rankings barely moved with the biggest risers being Norway who jumped up six spots.
The 1952 Summer Olympics saw the biggest surprise with Netherlands dropping out of the top 3 for the first time as they were replaced by World Cup champions Sweden. The final ranking before the change happened after the 1954 FIFA World Cup where Italy stayed on top with the biggest movers being Hungary who jumped into the top 10 for the first time after winning the tournament. In mid 1956, FIFA elected to change the ranking system so that their more emphasies on continental football while keeping the rankings to see who was the best.
When the FIFA rankings were introduced, the Netherlands debuted as the top-ranked team following from previous performances which include making the final of the 1926 FIFA World Cup. For the Netherlands they stayed as the top team until the Olympic Football tournament in 1936 where Italy gained the top spot for the first time which they would hold through the second World War. After the World War, the Italians kept their lead after being knocked out in the quarter-finals of the Olympics before being bundled out in the Group Stage of the 1950 FIFA World Cup.