Argentina go top in South America

A total of 55 friendly matches were taken into account for the March edition of the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking. A 2-1 victory for Argentina (4th, up 1) over Portugal (9th, down 1) in Geneva led to a significant change in the top five, and a 1-0 defeat for Brazil (5th, down 1) in France (18th, up 1) on the same night has also seen the Argentinians not only clamber into fourth place but replace Brazil as the highest-ranked South American team.

The team that capitalised most on the Portuguese slip-up, however, is Croatia (8th, up 1), who surged past the Iberians on the back of a 4-2 home win over the Czech Republic (31st, down 1).

Serbia also climbed into the top 20 thanks to a 2-0 triumph over Israel. The Serbs’ fortunes are in stark contrast to those of Slovakia, however, who have bid the top 20 farewell for the time being following a surprise 2-1 defeat in Luxembourg.

Even though neither Bulgaria (47th, up 4) nor Ecuador (49th, up 5) tasted victory in March, both teams moved into the top 50 in place of Bosnia-Herzegovina (56th, down 14) and Austria (61st, down 16). The team that made the biggest climb into the top 50, however, is Jamaica (48th, up 11), who have jumped from 59th place last month to 48th.

Zambia (97th, up 4) have also returned to the top 100 after a one-month absence thanks to a 4-0 victory over Swaziland. Their progress comes at the expense of Niger (104th, down 8), who were defeated 3-0 by Morocco. Other teams that have set records of their own this month include Hungary (36th, up 1), Antigua and Barbuda (101st, up 3) and Cambodia (154th, up 12), who are all currently in their highest-ever position since the introduction of the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking in 1993.

The next FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking will be published on 13 April 2011.