Brazil and Spain pull away
© AFP

No fewer than 192 matches have been played since the last edition of the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking, 147 of which were qualifying matches for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™. It comes as little surprise then that there has been noticeable movement this month.

Nevertheless, the very top is unchanged, with Brazil retaining a narrow lead over Spain, the Netherlands and Italy. England remain in seventh place, whereas Germany (5th, down 1) and Russia (12th, down 6) have both lost ground. Besides Argentina (6th, up 2), Croatia (8th, up 1) and France (9th, up 1), this month's big winners are Portugal (10th, up 7), who are back in the top 10 after a successful run of World Cup qualifying games.

In the top 50, five teams have climbed more than ten places. Particularly worthy of mention are the Indomitable Lions of Cameroon, who have risen 15 places to 14th and are now the highest-ranked African team. Currently, 23 teams have booked a place in the FIFA World Cup finals, 13 of which are ranked in the top 20.

Five of the other teams in the top 20 face a play-off for a place in South Africa, while Croatia and the Czech Republic are the only teams in the top 20 who have failed to qualify for the FIFA World Cup.

The next FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking will be published on 20 November 2009.