A first in the history of the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking: by winning UEFA EURO 2008, Spain assumed pole position, have remained unchallenged at the top ever since and are the Team of the Year. And that is not all: with 16 victories (including one on penalties) from 16 matches, Spain are also the Best Mover of the Year (the team that gained the most world ranking points over the last 12 months), recording an impressive 314 points.
Montenegro, not wholly unexpectedly, gained 245 points and rose a spectacular 60 places, more than any other team. They are now ranked 112th. Among the year's other big climbers are Russia (up 242 points and 14 places to 9th) and Burkina Faso (up 229 points and 51 places to 62nd). Considered over the course of the year, Asia, South America and CONCACAF each gained a team in the top fifty, while Europe lost three.
Turkey (10th, up 3) have broken back into the top ten at the expense of the Czech Republic and Portugal. Thanks to their victory over Saudi Arabia in the preliminary competition for the FIFA World Cup™, Korea Republic (42nd, up 11) have once again entered the top 50. Egypt (16th, up 5), Australia (28th, up 9), Kenya (68th, up 17), Rwanda (78th, up 9), Montenegro (112th, up 3) and Timor-Leste (197th, up 1) are all currently in their highest-ever position in the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking.
By mid-December 2008, 1,040 international matches had been played. Taking into account the matches still to be played, the annual total will come within a whisker of the all-time record of 1,065 matches (in 2004).
· Leader: Spain (1, unchanged), 'Team of the Year'
· Moves into top 10: Turkey (10, plus 3)
· Moves out of top 10: Czech Republic (11, minus 2) and Portugal (11, minus 1)
· Matches played in total: 89
· Most matches played: Myanmar: 7 matches
· Biggest move by points: Fiji: plus 133 points
· Biggest move by ranks: Fiji: plus 31 ranks
· Biggest drop by points: Bulgaria: minus 169 points
· Biggest drop by ranks: New Zealand: minus 26 ranks
· Newly ranked teams: none
· Teams that are no longer ranked: none
· Team of the Year 2008: Spain (1 since July 2008)
· Best Mover 2008: Spain (plus 314 points)
· Teams that were no longer ranked in the course of 2008: none
· Teams that were newly ranked in 2008: none
The next FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking will be published on 14 January 2009.