USA unbeatable in Global Cup, France holding on to first-ever 2nd place

Alexandra Recchia of France won the women's under 50kg individual kumite title at the 2016 Karate Worlds

Another year, another dollar. The USA have done the job again and are set to win the GSN Global Cup, the ranking of the world’s best sporting nations, for the ninth year in succession. To make absolutely sure, Team USA has topped the table in November too, ahead of Kenya and Great Britain, and the gap that opened up between them and second-placed France in October has remained a huge 3000 points.

Also as usual, they have done it in style, by topping both the men’s and the women’s rankings, ahead respectively of France and China.

There are relatively few tournaments left in the sporting year, among them the closing stages of Golf’s PGA and European Tours and of the Archery World Cup, and the African Cup of Nations in Women’s Football, and the USA’s lead is absolutely unassailable.
The same is true for France’s runners-up spot, as the 460 points-advantage they have over Germany will be more than enough to secure the European nation a historic second place in the Global Cup.
France joins the very select club of the world’s sporting nations’ elite, as only 5 other countries in GSN history have ever had a Global Cup podium finish: the USA of course, and Russia, China, Germany and Great Britain.
France’s best-ever finish was fourth, in 2015, 2012 and 2011, and over the years they have slowly but surely progressed, as the table below, with France’s final Global Cup standings (end-November for 2016), shows:
France 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
rank 13 4 4 5 5 4 2
France’s constant improvement is underscored by the number of sports in which they have earned GSN points, which has grown year by year, from 38 in 2014, to 41 in 2015, to 44 (so far) in 2016. They posted excellent results in two of the major team sports, with Football contributing 9.6% of France’s total points so far (they were runners-up to Portugal in the Euro 2016 Championship played on home soil) and Handball contributing a remarkable 10.1%.
But it was not all down to ball team sports, since France also made a killing in Karate, giving Japan a very good run for their money in the World Championships and earning a whopping 408 points, making Karate their top point earner. GSN has audited Karate as a sport for the first time in 2016, yet even without its points, France would still, albeit narrowly, hold on to their current second place over Germany.
France has also won outright two Global Cup sports: Biathlon and Handball, the latter ahead of Denmark and Russia, thanks to Olympic silver medals in both the men’s and women’s tournaments, and has finished second overall in Fencing and Squash.
Even if France does not look a contender for overall Global cup victory, they have a broad range of sports in their bag of tricks, and it will not be easy to take the runners-up spot away from them next year.