Three nations to play their first football matches in four years after being removed from FIFA rankings
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Over the next few days, three unranked nations who haven't played a game since 2019 will finally kick a ball when they feature at the Pacific Games.
The men's national teams of American Samoa, Tonga and Samoa are scheduled to compete at the Pacific Games in the Solomon Islands; a tournament that will kick off on Friday, 17 November.
Back in July, after a four-year period of inactivity, all three Pacific nations, who played their last competitive fixture on 18 July, 2019, were removed from the FIFA rankings.
But they are set to make a much-anticipated return in the coming weeks, as American Samoa face Samoa on Monday, 20 November, while Tonga come up against New Caledonia on Saturday, 18 November.
In order to be eligible for FIFA's official listings, teams must have played a game within the past 48 months.
It is unclear where American Samoa, Tonga and Samoa will feature in the official rankings but they will most likely be alongside San Marino, who have never recorded a competitive win.
In fact, they have lost 194 fixtures in total, drawing nine. But they did pick up a historic victory in 2004, when they recorded a 1-0 victory over Liechtenstein.
In the latest batch of FIFA rankings, published on 26 October, 2023, San Marino were plonked at the very bottom in 207th position, below Anguilla, US Virgin Islands and British Virgin Islands.
That beings said, San Marino are not technically the lowest-ranked because there are four sides unranked because of their inactivity, including American Samoa, Tonga and Samoa.
🇸🇲 The new men's FIFA Rankings are out and San Marino remain bottom despite their heroic 2-1 loss to Denmark.— The Sweeper (@SweeperPod) October 26, 2023
While San Marino are labelled ' the worst team in the world', 4 teams have no Ranking at all through inactivity.
🇦🇸 American Samoa
🇪🇷 Eritrea pic.twitter.com/RxIBS2jmxx
Eritrea also have no ranking but they will face Morocco and Congo in World Cup qualifiers this month.