Spain stay top, Portugal go fourth
© AFP

The latest edition of the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking reveals a number of changes in the top ten. Spain continue to lead the way ahead of Brazil and the Netherlands, but there is considerable movement in the lower half of the top ten: Portugal (4th, up 2) have overtaken Italy (5th, down 1) and Germany (6th, down 1), while England (7th, up 1) continue to climb the global ladder and have swapped places with France (8th, down 1). Croatia (10th, up 1) have returned to the top ten after a two-month absence.

Australia (19th, up 4) have leapt into the top 20 following their victory over Indonesia during qualification for the AFC Asian Cup 2011. Among the top 50 teams, Norway (24th, up 9) and Turkey (35th, up 6) have also made significant ground thanks to their wins over 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ participants in early March: Norway got the better of Slovakia, while Turkey emerged triumphant over Honduras.

However, the team that has made the most progress in terms of points and places in this month’s ranking is Senegal (72nd, up 22), who were too strong for former European champions and South Africa 2010 qualifiers Greece in a recent friendly match.

The majority of changes in this month’s ranking are due to the devaluation of results from last year. In particular, the latest edition reflects the devaluation of the results of the many FIFA World Cup qualification games played a year ago.

In all, the results of 47 matches have been taken into account in the latest ranking, 39 of them friendly matches and eight of them Asian Cup qualifiers. This takes the number of international 'A' matches played in 2010 to 145.