The results of the 159 'A' international matches played over the last five weeks have caused some significant movement in the latest edition of the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking. World champions Spain are still on top, although defeat in Buenos Aires has seen them lose a quarter of their lead.
Germany (3rd) and Brazil (4th) have traded places, as have England (6th) and Uruguay (7th), with the two European teams benefiting from their successful start to UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying. Norway (14th, up 8) and Slovakia (16th, up 11) have both climbed into the top 20 for the same reason. Russia (25th, down 9) and France (27th, down 6) have lost considerable ground, in contrast to Turkey (21st, up 7), who are on the rise again.
The most impressive climbers, however, are Montenegro (40th, up 33) as their two victories in EURO 2012 qualifiers have catapulted them into the top 50 for the first time. This represents an incredible rise for the newest member of the FIFA family, who started off at the foot of the ranking with no points to their name just three years ago.
Other teams that can celebrate jumps of at least ten positions and a place in the top 50 are Lithuania (42nd, up 10), Cyprus (43rd, up 20) and Northern Ireland (45th, up 14). There are also some major movers further down the ranking, including Belarus (55th, up 23), Panama (70th, up 27), the Cape Verde Islands (77th, up 31), Guinea (81st, up 21), Georgia (89th, up 21), Burundi (122nd, up 20) and particularly Guinea-Bissau (140th), who have climbed 48 places after returning from almost three years of inactivity with a victory.
In all, seven associations are currently in their highest-ever position in the world ranking since its introduction in 1993: Slovakia, Montenegro, Cyprus and Belarus, as well as Burkina Faso (39th), Uganda (63rd) and Botswana (82nd).
The next FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking will be published on 20 October 2010.