Japan shoot 17th as Asians soar
© AFP

As expected, the AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2011 has had a significant impact on the latest edition of the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking.

There are no changes at the summit of the global ladder, but Japan (17th, up 12), who became continental champions for a fourth time in Doha, have re-entered the top 20 after an absence of almost five years. Fittingly, the Samurai Blue are now the highest-ranked Asian team as well as being the third team - after hosts Brazil and world champions Spain - to qualify for the FIFA Confederations Cup in 2013.

Japan’s narrowly defeated opponents in the Qatar 2011 final, Australia (21st, up 5), as well as the losing semi-finalists Korea Republic (32nd, up 7) and this month’s highest climbers Uzbekistan (77th, up 31), have obtained their reward in terms of places and points. Other Asian teams on an upward trajectory include Iran (44th, up 21), Jordan (84th, up 23), Iraq (88th, up 10) and Qatar (90th, up 15).

Thanks to their victories in the qualification matches for the CONCACAF Gold Cup 2011, Honduras (39th, up 17), Costa Rica (48th, up 21) and El Salvador (98th, up 18) are also heading in the right direction.

Due to the significant devaluation of the points won a year ago at the CAF Africa Cup of Nations, many teams have slid down the rankings this month. African champions Egypt (33rd, down 23), Nigeria (40th, down 8) and Algeria (55th, down 19) have lost the most ground, but several others have also taken a tumble.

Four teams, Honduras, Iran, South Africa and Costa Rica, have made the leap into the top 50 this month.