Spain leads FIFA rankings as Italy finally move into the top 10
AFP, Wednesday 13 Apr 2011
The international teams have been ranked over a four-year cycle, while Bosnia-Herzegovina remains suspended by FIFA


World Cup champion Spain stayed top of the FIFA rankings, as the final's runner-up, the Netherlands, remain No. 2.

Brazil climbed two places to No. 3 after it succeeded in overtaking its archrival Argentina, after beating Scotland 2-0 in a friendly.

Germany, which lost a home friendly against Australia, fell one place to become No. 4. Argentina dropped to fifth position after drawing their friendlies against the United States and Costa Rica.

Italy ended a seven-month exile from the top 10. The 2006 World Cup winners rose two places to No. 9, following their victories last month against Slovenia in a European Championship qualifier and a friendly in Ukraine.

Asian champion Japan rose two places to No. 13, continuing the team’s surge since the World Cup last June when it was placed 45th.

Ghana, Africa's leading team, moved up one to No. 15 after beating Congo in an African Cup of Nations qualifier and drawing with England, currently No. 6.

The United States led CONCACAF team is at No. 22 despite falling for the second straight month. It followed the draw against Argentina by losing 1-0 against No. 23 Paraguay.

FIFA's newest member, Montenegro, rose to a best-ever No. 24 since it obtained football independence in 2007.

The round of Euro 2012 qualifiers saw Israel and Belgium each leap 25 places in the rankings. Israel was No. 33 after home wins against Georgia and Latvia. Belgium beat Azerbaijan and Austria to become 37th.

Bosnia-Herzegovina rose 12 places to No. 44, after beating Romania, but has since been suspended by FIFA. The football federation of Bosnia-Herzegovina, FFBH, is required to rewrite its statutes before being allowed to travel to Romania for the return match in June.

Albania was placed at No. 50, its highest rank yet, after a Euro 2012 win against Belarus.

Libya jumped 13 places to its best of No. 58, after beating Comoros in an African Cup qualifier. The match was played in neutral Mali because Tripoli was too dangerous to host any football matches.

New Zealand led Oceania team is at No. 60, down four places.

Future World Cup hosts, Russia and Qatar, dropped in status after drawing a friendly in Doha staged to celebrate their success. Russia, which also drew a Euro 2012 qualifier in Armenia, fell five spots to No. 13, and Qatar, No. 91, fell one place.

The rankings graded international teams over a four-year cycle of results, and took into account the 124 matches which were played in the last five weeks.



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