Team of the Year Spain stay top
© AFP

Because only around 30 matches were taken into account for the final FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking of the year, there was no change at the top, with Spain continuing to lead the way ahead of Brazil and the Netherlands.

The Iberians once again take the crown of Team of the Year, as their surprise defeat to the USA at the FIFA Confederations Cup was the only blemish on an otherwise perfect record in the 16 matches they played.

Two teams can lay claim to the title of Best Mover of the Year. Firstly is Brazil, who added 322 points to their World Ranking haul in 2009. The highlights for A Seleção this year were finishing top of the CONMEBOL qualification table for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ and their triumph at the FIFA Confederations Cup South Africa 2009, which saw them move from last year’s "lowly" fifth place up to second. The other Best Mover of the Year is Algeria, whose total points increased by the same number as Brazil's. In the space of 12 months, the North Africans have gained 38 places and now find themselves in 26th position following their successful FIFA World Cup qualification campaign – their highest position since the launch of the World Ranking in 1993.

Behind Brazil and Algeria, the three European teams Slovenia (31st, up 26 places and 235 points), Norway (32nd, up 27 places and 234 points) and Latvia (45th, up 22 places and 192 points) also gained considerable ground this year. Judged solely in terms of their climb up the rankings, the biggest movers of the year were the Faroe Islands (117th, up 67), Nicaragua (133rd, up 48), Benin (59th, up 42), the aforementioned Algeria (26th, up 38) and Montenegro (74th, up 38).

The total number of matches played in 2009 increased to 834. This figure is higher than four years ago, but much lower than the pre-FIFA World Cup™ years of 2001 and 1997.