1. United States of America (1)
Dominant in major interest sports such as Basketball (best at mens and womens), American Football and Baseball, as well as strongest in a range of sports including Golf (3 of worlds top 5), Athletics, MMA, boxing (18 current champions) and swimming. They were no.1 in the medal table at the last Olympics, with 46 gold medals, almost double any other country.
6. Germany (2)
Won 17 gold medals across 9 sports in Summer Olympics and 14 across 6 sports in Winter Olympics, making them top 5 on medal table in each. Have top ranked tennis starts in both mens and womens, whilst Sebastian Vettel is top 3 in F1 standings. Fall in rankings partly caused by early exit in Football World Cup compared to winning previous one.
3. United Kingdom (3)
Have current and 5-time F1 world champion in Lewis Hamilton and made the semi-finals at both mens and womens football world cups. They have 2 of worlds top 5 at golf (Mcilroy and Rose), 7 world boxing champions, as well as Cricket World Champions and no.2 ranked at Rugby Union. There were no.2 in medal table at last Olympics, winning 27 gold medals
4. Spain (4)
They have great individuals such as French open tennis holder and all-time great Nadal and 7-time and current Moto GP champion Marc Marquez, as well as top 10 sportsmen in golf and cycling. They have the number 2 ranked mens basketball team , and top 10 ranked soccer team, including many of the worlds best players.
2. France (5)
Current World Champions at mens Football and top 3 ranked at mens basketball, as well as finalists in Davis Cup Tennis. They are strong in a number of other sports, including having the Rally world champion, being no 1 ranked at both mens and womens handball and being in the top 10 in both the summer and winter olympic medal tables.
7. Russia (6)
Olympic Champions at Ice Hockey, they are strong in indivdiual sports such as wrestling, figure skating, biathlon, judo, fencing and weightlifting, although Olympic bans for institutional doping have reduced medal counts. Have 3 boxing and a MMA World Champion. Quarter-finalists at football World Cup, and have 2 of top 10 at mens tennis.
5 Australia (7)
Good across a range of sports. They are current no.1 ranked at Rugby League and mens Field Hockey and no.2 in both mens and womens cricket rankings and top 3 in womens basketball, have 3 of top 25 golfers and won the 8th most medals in the last summer olympics, including 3 golds in swimming disciplines alone.
15. Argentina (8)
Have major international football star Lionel Messi, reaching last 16 of last world cup. They are excellent at mens team sports, being top 5 ranked at both basketball and hockey and top 10 at Rugby and Volleyball. They also have world Touring Car champion and major Tennis star, Del Potro.
11. Italy (9)
Excellent at a range of sports, holding Olympic gold medals, in swimming, shooting, fencing, judo, cycling, skiing, skateboarding and skating. They have 2 of top 3 at s Moto GP (including legendary Valentino Rossi). Remain decent at team sports such as football if declining recently.
9. Japan (10)
They are the best country in the world outside of the US at baseball, as well as excelling at Judo, Figure Skating, Gymnastics and volleyball. They also have 6 world boxing champions and won 6th most medals in the last Olympics with 12 golds. They have womens world no 2 at tennis, Osaka and mens and womens no 1 at badminton.
8. Brazil (11)
Continue to produce top quality footballers, being ranked top 3 in the world with Neymar. The were also no 1 ranked at volleyball and quarter-finalists at world championship basketball. They also are excellent at martials arts with2 current UFC champions, the world surfing champion and 4 of the 7 top womens beach volleyball teams
The following list calculates the top sporting nations, updated at the end of 2018. This ranking is done every 4 years, with the previous ranking from 2014 in brackets It attempts to implement a stastical riguour with countries ranked for women and men separately on each of the 55 biggest global sports, as defined by daily media coverage in major countries on this website. Where robust ranking systems are not existent in a sport, number of medals at the last major world championship and olympics are amalgamated to gain a ranking (or for example in the case of motor sport, the last world series). The rankings are then weighted by size of sport to form a comprehensive list ot the world's best current sporting nations.
(2014 positions in brackets)
10. Canada (12)
Excellent at winter sports, they are the strongest country in the world at Ice Hockey, as well as winning 11 gold medals, across curling, skating, skiing skateboarding and bobsleigh disciplines. They also have mens high jump and 100m freestyle Olympic champions. They are strong at baseball and have top ranked players at mens and womens tennis.
16. China (13)
3rd in the last summer olympic medal table, China is strongest at a number of mid-level sports including Table Tennis, Badmington, weightlifting and diving, as well as having strong gymnasts and swimmers. Lower down list due to less strength in biggest team sports.
13. The Netherlands (14)
World champions at womens hockey and finalists at mens as well as semi-finalists at handball. Max Verstappen came 4th in F1 drivers rankings and had 2 of the top 5 riders in the Tour De France. They are dominant at speed skating winning 8 Olympic golds, as part of 16 they hold across 6 sports.
18. Czech Republic (15)
They are current Fed Cup champions at Womens tennis (having won 4 of last 5), having 2 of top 10 players in the world, Kviotva and Pliskova. Also top 5 ranked in the world at
mens Ice hockey
21. Switzerland (16)
Have tennis legend Roger Federer who remains in top 5 in World. and are also in the top 12 ranked world mens soccer team. They excel in a number of winter sports, particularly skiing, where they have current olympics champions at Alpine, Cross-country and freestyle.
17. Mexico (17)
They have no fewer than 10 current boxing world champions, including pound for pound great Canelo Alvarez, as well as reaching the last 16 at both the soccer and basketball world cup. They also have a number of mlb Baseball players and some of the world's best divers.
23. Serbia (18)
Have world no.1 and 16-time grand slam tennis champion (incl. current Wimbledon and US open), Novak Djokovic. Also World champions at Womens volleyball and semi-finalists at mens, whilst top 5 ranked at Mens basketball
19. South Korea (21)
Won 9 gold medals at last summer olympics, leading the world in a number of indivdual sports including Archery, Speed Skating, Fencing, Shooting and Taekwando They also have the world's best female golfers, including the top 2 in the world and are top 5 at baseball.
14. Croatia (19)
Reached the final of the mens football World Cup and are top 10 ranked at mens basketball and top 5 ranked at handball. They have 2 Olympic athletics champions, as well as holding Olympic golds in shooting, sailing and rowing, which is remarkable, given a population of just 4 million.
26. South Africa (20)
Top 5 ranked team in the world at both mens cricket and Rugby Union. They also have a number of top golfers, 2 current Olympic champions at Athletics and legendary swimmer Le Clos, making them Africa's top sporting nation.
12. Belgium (22)
Currently no.1 ranked in the World at mens Football, having made the last World Cup Semi Final, with players such as Eden Hazard They are also strong at Field Hockey, cycling and had 2nd ranked driver at last Rally World Championships.
31. Colombia (23)
Got to the last 16 of the last Mens football World Cup, whilst Ibarguen is the Olympic Triple Jump gold medalist, as one of 3 olympic gold medals. They also have 2 of the 20 riders in the last Tour De France and good weightlifters.
22. Sweden (24)
Quarter-finalists in mens and semi-finalists in womens Football World Cup and won 2018 Ice Hockey mens World Championships. They also have top golfer, Henrik Stenson. and excel at a number of winter sports, such as CC skiing and curling.
24. Poland (25)
Winners of last 2 Volleyball World Championships and ranked top 5 in beach volleyball. The strongest nation at ski jumping. and are strong in Athletics throwing events, having the Olympic Champion in Hammer.
25. Ukraine (26)
Lomacenko is the best pound for pound boxer in the world by most rankings, whilst Usyk is also top 5. Svitolina is top 10 in the world at tennis, whilst Ukraine also won Olympic golds at gymnastics and canoe.
20. Denmark (27)
They won the last Mens World Handball Championship and only beaten on penalties by finalists Croatia in the mens football world cup. They also have two of the top 10 ranked badminton players a top tennis player (Wozniacki).
29. Austria (28)
Excellent downhill skiers, as well as being good at winters sports in general. Hischer and Mayer between them won Super-G, Giant Slalom and mens combined skiing medals, as part of 5 gold medals at last Winter Olympics
38. Romania (30)
They have the world no.2 women's tennis player (Simona Halep) and 21st ranked soccer team. They also had the 2nd placed female gymnast at the last World Championships.
39. New Zealand (29)
Current world Rugby Union champions and world ranked no.1, they also reached the final of the last cricket world cup. They won 18 medals in last Olympics, including gold medals in Sailing, Rowing and Canoeing
35. Greece (31)
Top 10 Mens basketball team, which made the last 8 in the European championships. They also have the womens pole vault Olympic champion, as well as winning olympic golds in shooting and gymnastics
36. Slovakia (32)
Reached the 2nd round of the last European Championship finals at mens football. They have a top 10 ranked Ice Hockey team and won 3 medals in Canoeing at the last Olympics
33. Portugal (33)
Their ranking is driven by being the current European champions at mens football, where Cristiano Ronaldo is a global star. Other than this, they have an Olympic judo medal
34. Turkey (34)
Quarter-finalists in the last mens Basketball world cup, and ranked top 10 in last volleyball and basketball womens world championships. Won 6 medals, including 1 gold at the last Olympics in Wrestling.
27. Finland (35)
Very strong at Motorsports, with both Bottas and Raikkonen in the top 5 in the F1 standings and also have 2 of the top 5 in the World Rally Classification. Quarter finalists in mens and semi final womens Ice hockey in the last Olympics
30. Uruguay (36)
Their high position is driven by a strong mens football team, reaching the quarter-finals of the last World Cup and having star Barcelona striker, Luis Suarez. Good also at Rugby where they qualified for the World Cup Finals.
32. Slovenia (37)
They are the current European Champions at mens Basketball, whilst cyclist Roglic came 4th is the Tour De France . Good also at winter sports, with Olympics medals in 2018 at biathlon and snowboarding.
57. Cuba (38)
4th ranked in the world at baseball, where they have a number of MLB players. They also won 3 Boxing and 2 Wrestling Olympic Gold medals from the last games
51. Tunisia (39)
Are current Mens Volleyball African champions, as well as qualifying for the last world cup at football. They hold Olympic medals in Taekwando, wrestling and fencing.
37. India (40)
The top ranked test cricket team in the world. They also have top 10 players at mens and womens badmington holding an Olympic silver in the latter , as well as being good at shooting and archery. Still low vs their population!
46. Puerto Rico (41)
They also have 2 current Boxing World Champtions and were runners up in the last baseball World Classic. They also qualified for last world championship for both genders at both basketball and volleyball., not bad for 3 million people.
40. Chile (42)
Have won the last 2 Copa Americas at mens soccer, being ranked in the top 15, with team including World stars like Alexis Sanchez and Arturo Vidal.
52. Dominican Republic (43)
They have more than 100 MLB players, winning the last Baseball World Classic. They also have a world boxing champion, came top 6 in last female volley worlds and were last 16 in Basket World Cup
50. Lithuania (44)
Ranked 6th in the world at Mens Basketball, making the semi-finals of the last world cup. They have olympic medalists at weightlifting, rowing and canoe
42. Iran (45)
Excellent at both weightlifting and wrestling winning 8 olympic medals in these sports, 3 of them gold. Qualified for both football and basketball world cup finals, as well as making the top 8 in the last Volleyball World Championships.
69. Israel (46)
Top 50 in the World rankings at both Football and Basketball. Have some strength in a number of sports including baseball, judo and sailing.
43. Norway (47)
Excellent at winter sports, including downhill and cross-country skiing, ski jump, curling, Ice Hockey and Biathlon, coming 1st in the last Winter Olympic Medal Table. Also runners-up in Mens handball world Championships
78. Algeria (48)
Makhloufi is Olympic silver medallist in both 800m and 1500m middle-distance running. Have major football stars such as Mahrez, but missed out on qualifying for World Cup this time.
41. Republic of Ireland (49)
They have the 3rd ranked Rugby Union team in the world, as well as making the last 16 in the last Euros at mens football and being competitive at hockey, equestrian and rowing.
86. Ivory Coast (50)
La Tou is World Silver Medalist at women's 100m and 200m running, whilst they won an Olympic gold medal in Taekwando. Football team good but declined recently.
62. Costa Rica (51)
Qualified and did creditably at the World Cup at football, whilst also having a women's World Boxing Champion
44. Hungary (52)
Swimming star Hosszu won 3 Olympic gold medals, contributing to 8 in total, across fencing, Canoeing and swimming, meaning they were 12th on Olympic medal table.
63. Nigeria (53)
Runners-up in the last Afrobasket mens competition and qualified for last mens football world cup, winning a group game.
60. Chines Taipei (Taiwan) (54)
Have worlds no.1 female badminton player and top 10 players at Pool and Table Tennis. Won olympic medallists at both weightlifting and archery.
65. Panama (55)
Decent at basketball, baseball and football, as well as having some good boxers and baseball
48. Senegal (56)
Qualified for 2018 World Cup, only going out on fair play rules in group. Came third in last Afrobasket at mens and 2nd at womens basketball, for which they also reached last 12 in World Championship.
28. Venezuela (57)
Current South American basketball Champions, whilst they have a number of MLB Baseball players, including 11-time all-star Miguel Cabrera. Carlos Canizales is also a World Boxing Champion.
53. Belarus (58)
Multiple olympics medalists at weightlifting and wrestling, they also medalled at athletics, swimming and won a gold at gymnastics and biathlon.
55. Thailand (59)
Have world no. 1 female golfer, 3 world boxing champions and a top 10 ranked badminton player. Also finalists as womens volleyball and have 2 olympic gold medalists at weightlifting
47. Bulgaria (60)
Have one of worlds best tennis players in Dimitrov, as well as Olympic silver medalist in High Jump. Reached last 16 at mens and womens volleyball at last World Champtionships.
79. Ecuador (61)
Quarter-finalists at Copa America football and won 6 medals in the last Weightlifting World Championships.
54. Iceland (63)
Made quarter-finals of European Championship football (beating England) and qualified for the World Cup. Also made knockout stage at mens handball World Championship
67. Cameroon (64)
Current African Cup of Nations champions at football and African Champions at Womens volleyball, coming third in the mens
59. Bosnia-Herzegovina (65)
Top 50 ranked at both mens basketball and football, they also have a top 100 ranked tennis player.
94. Trinidad and Tobago (66)
Have good Track and Field athletes, being current 4x400 mens relay mens world champions, as as well as having good cricketers.
64. Kazakhstan (67)
Home of boxing pound for pound great Golovkin. Won 18 medals at last olympics, including a swimming gold at multiple medals at weightlifting, judo and wrestling
74. Pakistan (68)
Ranked no.1 in World at T20, as well as 7th in test ranking , as well as being good at Field Hockey.
58. Jamaica (69)
The kings of sprinting with both Usain Bolt and Elaine Thompson winning double golds 100m and 200m at last Olympics. They also won the 4x100 mens relay and mens 100m hurdles.
73. Egypt (70)
Quaified for World Championships/Cup at men's football, handball and volleyball , being runners up in African Nations Football and hockey. Also have 2 olympic medal Weighlifters.
45. Latvia (71)
Top 15 ranked at both mens Basketball and Ice Hockey as well as having a top 20 ranked female tennis player. Curiously have 2 of top 10 ranked mens Beach Volleyball teams.
80. Phillipines (72)
Have great boxers, including 2 World boxing champions and superstar Pacquiano. Also have a large number of best pool players and qualified for last Basketball World Cup Finals
49. Peru (73)
Increase in rankings primarily due to improvement at mens football, qualifying for the World Cup for the first time in over 30 years, also making the quarters of the last Copa America
90. Cape Verde (76)
Ranked in the top 60 countries in the world at football, narrowly missing out on World Cup qualification.
89. Sri Lanka (74)
6th ranked country at test cricket, whilst being a quarter-finalist at last Cricket World Cup
75. Estonia (78)
Decent at a variety of summer and winters sports, including Ott Tanak being no.2 in World Rally Championship and 2 women in tennis top 100 world rankings.
72. Hong Kong (79)
They have top 10 ranked players at both Badmington and Table Tennis, as well as good sailers.
76. Kenya (80)
Very strong at middle and long distance running with 6 olympic champions, including both mens and womens marathon champions. Also in contention to qualify for Rugby World Cup.
81. Albania (82)
Qualified and did respectably at last European Championships football, have a world champion weightlifter and no.1 world ranked pool player
93. Guinea (75)
Have a good football team, including Naby Keita the Liverpool star who cost them 70 million euros.
85. Mali (77)
Qualified for the African Nations Cup Finals at football, in which they are top 60 ranked and semi-finalists at last female Afrobasket
84. Bolivia (116)
Competitive and improving at mens football, picking up wins against Argentina and Chile and a draw vs Brazil in World Cup qualifying
66. Congo DR (84)
Quarter-finalists at the African Nations Cup Finals at football, but narrowly missed out on World Cup. Some decent boxers
56. Montenegro (85)
Quarter-finalists in last womens World Handball Championship, they are also top 50 ranked at mens and womens basketball and mens football
Biggest Global Sports
A statistics-based analysis of the biggest global sports
61. Paraguay (88)
A strong footballing nation picking up wins vs Argentina, Colombia and Chile in World Cup qualifiying, as well as having a top 100 ranked tennis player
91. Nicaragua (90)
Have current World Champion in Flyweight Boxing, as well as some good baseball players.
87. Honduras (91)
Good football team, only losing out on a place in the World Cup finals in a play-off after coming 4th in North America.
95. Bangledesh (110)
Reached quarter-final of last cricket world cup and are 9th ranked cricket test nation.
100. Zambia (91)
Narrowly missed out on Football World Cup qualification, coming 2nd in their group. Also some decent boxers
97. El Salvador (122)
Have a decent football team, who came third in last Central American Cup and reached quarter finals of North American Championships
98. Syria (NE)
Remarkable new entry to top 100, given Civil War. Their football team came within a whisker of qualifying for the football World Cup, coming in the top 6 in Asia.
99. Indonesia (86)
Good at Badminton, where they have a top rated mens doubles team and have 2 Olympic silver medal weightlifters. Still very low vs their population which is 4th highest in world.
2014 position in Brackets
101. North Korea (98)
102. Ethiopia (100)
103. Cyprus (109)
104. Angola (62)
105. Uganda (89)
106. Afghanistan (117)
107. Lebanon (112)
108. Uzbekistan (81)
109. Curacao (NE)
110. Zimbabwe (102)
111. Oman (127)
112. Qatar (113)
113. Congo (87)
114. Barbados (125)
115. Vietnam (124)
116. Gabon (96)
117. Azerbaijan (114)
118. Bahrain (NE)
119. Benin (120)
120. Iraq (145)
121. Faroe Islands (NE)
122. Bahamas (135)
123. Krygyzstan (NE)
124. Armenia (94)
125. Fiji (126)
126. Singapore (106)
127. Western Samoa (123)
128. Tonga (128)
129. Mongolia (119)
130. Papua New Guinea (136)
131. Jordan (83)
132. Burundi (NE)
133. Guatemala (95)
134. Guyana (130)
135. Mauritius (NE)
136. Palestine (NE)
137. Namibia (133)
138. Tajikistan (149)
139. Mozambique (129)
140. Eritrea (146)
141. Winward Islands (NE)
142. Libya (103)
143. Malta (148)
144. American Virgin Islands (NE)
145. Grenada (132)
146. Leeward Islands (NE)
147. Macau (NE)
148. Liberia (NE)
149. Kuwait (NE)
150. Moldova (137)
108. United Arab Emirates
111. Sierra Leone
122. El Salvador
123. Western Samoa
136. Papua New Guinea
139. St Lucia
144. Saudi Arabia
92. Malaysia (97)
Lee Chong Wei is 3 time Olympic badmington silver medalist and former world no. 1, whilst they reached the semis of the World Hockey League
77. Burkino Faso (97)
Strong football team, coming 3rd in last African Nations Cup and being top 50 ranked by FIFA.
96. Saudi Arabia (144)
Qualified and did respectably at last Football World Cup and last Handball World championship
88. Luxembourg (134)
Cyclist Bob Jengels in top 12 in Tour De France, whilst Giles Muller is a high-level tennis player. Football team has had more success recently, entering the top 100 in the world
83. United Arab Emirates (109)
Qualified for last Cricket World Cup. Semi-finalist at last Asian football cup, narrowly missing out on World Cup finals.
71. Morocco (101)
Qualified for the mens football world cup, have world steeplechase silver medalist and a driver in top 10 of World Touring Car Championship
70. Georgia (115)
Won 7 Olympic medals in wrestling, weightlifting and Judo. Ranked top 15 in world at Mens Rugby and top 30 in world at basketball.
68. Ghana (69)
Have a Super Bantamweight world boxing champion and came third in African Cup of Nations at field hockey. Decent football team but failed to qualify for recent World Cup
82. Macedonia (108)
Narrowly missed out on 2nd round of Handball World Championships. Competitive also at mens football and basketball.