Out-and-out triumph for Spain
© AFP

Spain’s 1-0 win over the Netherlands in the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ Final in Johannesburg last Sunday not only gave La Roja their first ever FIFA World Cup victory but has also secured them top spot in the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking for the third time. Vicente Del Bosque’s team have deposed previous front-runners Brazil, who fall to third, while final opponents the Netherlands climb from fourth place to second. The Oranje’s defeat in the FIFA World Cup showdown brought an end to their run of 25 matches without defeat.

There are a number of big movers in this month’s top ten, with Chile (10th, up 8), Egypt (9th, up 3) and Uruguay (6th, up 10) all scaling the heights. La Celeste, the tournament’s surprise package thanks to their outstanding performances and qualification for the semi-final, thus take up their highest position since the world ranking was introduced. These three teams have benefited from disappointing performances by two giants of international football, Italy (11th, down 6) and France (21st, down 12). The 2006 finalists pay the price for group-stage elimination in South Africa and, together with Croatia, no longer find themselves among the ten best teams.

The latest ranking also brings mixed fortunes for the African teams. While hosts South Africa (66th, up 17) and Ghana (23rd, up 9) make considerable ground, Nigeria (30th, down 9), Algeria (33rd, down 3) and above all Cameroon (40th, down 21) tumble down the pecking order.

A total of 154 international 'A' matches have been played since the previous edition of the ranking, including 86 friendlies and 64 FIFA World Cup encounters. Four qualifying matches for the next CAF Africa Cup of Nations were also contested.