Brazil climb third, Italy return to top ten

Spain and the Netherlands team they defeated in the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ Final continue to stride clear atop of the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking, thanks to victories in UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying.

There was, however, significant movement below them on the latest instalment of the global ladder. Brazil (3rd, up 2) have reclaimed a podium position, while Germany (4th, down 1) and Argentina (5th, down 1) have lost ground.

Meanwhile, Italy (9th, up 2) have returned to the top ten after an absence of seven months. The 2006 world champions’ good form continued last month with victories over Slovenia, their main rivals in the EURO 2012 qualifiers, and Ukraine. Italy’s progress is at the expense of Greece, who have slipped to 12th following two months in the top ten.

There were also some major movers in the top 50 of this month’s Ranking, with Israel (33rd, up 25), Belgium (37th, up 25), Albania (50th, up 23) and Algeria (40th, up 15) making the biggest climbs of the teams in the top half-century.

Four teams – Montenegro (24th, up 1), Albania, Libya (58th, up 13) and Antigua and Barbuda (100th, up 1) – are currently in their highest-ever position since the launch of the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking in 1993.

124 international matches have been played since the last edition of the Ranking five weeks ago, which has doubled the total number of games played in 2011 to 248. Of these 124 matches, 50 were qualifiers for confederation championships (29 in UEFA, 21 in CAF). The other 74 games were friendlies.