Singapore start the new year at No. 157 in the latest Fifa world rankings, which were released yesterday.
After climbing from a lowly 161st at the end of October - the national football team's second-worst position in history - friendly wins over Laos and Cambodia saw the Lions climb up four spots by last month.
With the Asean Football Federation Suzuki Cup not recognised by Fifa as an "A" international competition, none of the teams in the regional competition at the end of last year gained points.
All in all, the continent fared badly in the Fifa rankings last year. None of Asia's four representatives at last year's World Cup in Brazil - Iran, Japan, South Korea and Australia - won a single game.
In the latest world rankings, no Asian country made it into the top 50. The continent's highest ranked side are Iran (51), with reigning Asian champions Japan (54), South Korea (69), Uzbekistan (71), the United Arab Emirates (80) and Qatar (92) making up the continent's top five.
The jarring statistic will serve to throw an even bigger spotlight on the Asian Cup, starting today and ending on Jan 31.
Hosts Australia, finalists in 2011, are desperate to go one better this year and open the tournament in Melbourne today against Kuwait.
With veteran stars having retired and younger players leading the fight, the Socceroos have their work cut out against usual suspects Japan, South Korea and Iran, who will also be keen to erase the memory of a poor World Cup in the 16-team competition.
STAGE TO SHINE
But far from shirking a challenge, Ange Postecoglou, the coach of 100th-ranked Australia, feels that the Asian Cup provides an adequate platform for Asia to show progress, as he expressed dissatisfaction with the world rankings.
Speaking to Australian daily Herald Sun, he said: "It's certainly not reflective of where I think some Asian nations are, not just us but others."
"We want to be a confederation that gets into the knockout stages of the World Cup and this (the Asian Cup) is a good platform to start."
LATEST FIFA RANKINGS*
1. Germany (Points: 1725)
2. Argentina (1538)
3. Colombia (1450)
4. Belgium (1417)
5. Holland (1374)
6. Brazil (1316)
7. Portugal (1160)
7. France (1160)
9. Spain (1142)
10. Uruguay (1135)
*No change in top 10.
This article was first published on Jan 09, 2015.
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