Mexico rocket ninth, Africans make ground
© AFP

The CONCACAF Gold Cup, numerous qualifying matches for confederation championships and the devaluation of the first phase of matches from the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ have led to considerable movement on this month’s FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking.

Among the top ten teams, only leaders Spain and closest challengers the Netherlands have retained their positions. Brazil, third last month, have lost points and places (5th, down 2), and the pecking order has also changed further down.

Mexico have gained 19 places thanks to their victory at the CONCACAF Gold Cup and have rocketed back into the top ten for the first time since July 2007.

Moving in the other direction are Uruguay (18th, down 11), who have dropped out of the top ten after being particularly badly affected by the devaluation of their successful group-stage matches at South Africa 2010.

However, the forthcoming Copa América will give all of the South American teams ample opportunity to bag more points.

Montenegro (16th, up 8) and Côte d’Ivoire (14th, up 7) have both scaled new heights, reaching their best position since the introduction of the world ranking, while a number of African teams have also made heady progress, including Zimbabwe (87th, up 39), Liberia (125th, up 32), Comoros (164th, up 24), Sierra Leone (95th, up 23) and Central African Republic (91st, up 22).

In all, 131 international 'A' matches have been played since the previous edition of the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking, consisting of 61 friendlies, 22 Gold Cup matches and 48 qualifiers for confederation championships. This takes the total number of games played this year to 386.

Anticipation will be particularly high ahead of the next edition of the global ladder, which will serve as a basis for the Preliminary Draw for Brazil 2014.