Dutch lose ground as qualifiers leave mark
© AFP

The October edition of the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking was largely shaped by the qualifying matches for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ and various continental championships.

With the second-placed Dutch losing 3-2 to Sweden (14th, up 11), Spain have been able to slightly increase their lead thanks to a 23rd consecutive home victory. Furthermore, the Netherlands’ pursuers, Germany, Uruguay and Brazil (up 2), have all managed to close the gap, while Greece (8th, up 3) and Denmark (10th, up 7) are back in the top ten after booking their place at UEFA EURO 2012 in the last round of matches.

After failing to qualify directly for the European finals, Croatia (12th, down 3) have dropped out of the top ten for the first time this year. In other news, thanks to their second victory against Switzerland (18th, unchanged) in 50 years, Wales (45th, up 45) are back in the top 50 after an eight-year absence.

As for the AFC zone, despite remaining unbeaten since the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa, Asia’s top-ranked team Japan (17th, down 2) have slipped down a couple of spots.

In South America, thanks to their first-ever win over Argentina, Venezuela (40th, up 7) have continued to progress, while Ecuador now have the top 50 firmly in their sights after their fifth victory in a row.

With a total of 136 matches played, there has also been movement lower down the top 100, with a mixture of old and new faces heading in the right direction, including Caribbean side Antigua and Barbuda (90th, up 1), Iraq (91st, up 16), Guyana (97th, up 19), Guatemala (99th, up 10) and Cuba (100th, up 1). Meanwhile, two former participants in the FIFA World Cup finals, New Zealand (105th, down 16) and Bolivia (115th, down 34), have dropped out of the top 100.

The next FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking will be published on 23 November 2011.