Finalists finish 2010 on top
© AFP

The upper reaches of the latest edition of the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking reflect the teams’ performances at the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™, with world champions Spain and runners-up the Netherlands continuing to lead the way, followed by semi-finalists Germany, who have bumped Brazil out of third place. For the third year in a row, Spain are the Team of the Year, while the Netherlands have claimed the title of Best Mover of the Year for the team that earned the most points in 2010.

Other teams have also caused a stir outside the top ten. Montenegro, who just a year ago were ranked 74th, gained 368 points to finish the year in 25th position. Botswana were also successful, starting the year in 118th position and ending it in 53rd.

A comparison with the continental composition of the top 50 in December 2009 reveals that UEFA (29, plus 2), the AFC (3, plus 1) and CAF (10, plus 1) have increased their representation in the top 50 at the expense of CONMEBOL (6, minus 2) and CONCACAF (2, minus 2). The top-ranked teams from each of the confederations are Spain (1st, unchanged), Brazil (4th, down 1), Egypt (9th, up 1), the USA (18th, up 6), Australia (26th, down 6) and New Zealand (63rd, down 4).

The results of 111 new “A” international matches have been recognised in the current edition of the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking. In terms of points, 14 qualifying matches for continental championships in Europe, the Caribbean and Africa were of particular importance, while the remaining 97 matches were friendlies. With a total of 785 matches taken into account so far this year, the final tally for 2010 may well exceed the 800 mark, bringing it just above the average for a World Cup year.

The next FIFA/Coca-Cola Ranking will be published on 12 January 2011.