Germans close on Dutch, England go fifth
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World and European champions Spain remain unchallenged atop of this month’s FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking. Although La Roja’s defeat by England and draw with Costa Rica lost them points, their place on the global ladder remains unchanged.

Just behind them, an intriguing three-way tussle is under way, with Germany edging dangerously close to the second-placed Netherlands following their 3-0 victory in the match between the two sides.

Hot on their heels are Uruguay, who are continuing to make progress following their convincing 4-0 win over Chile in the South American Zone qualifiers for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ and a friendly defeat of Italy, which brought Cesare Prandelli's team's 13-game unbeaten run to an end.

Within the top ten, England (5th, up 2) have climbed up the Ranking, as have Portugal (7th, up 1) and Croatia (8th, up 4) thanks to recent successes in UEFA EURO 2012 qualifying.

In the top 50, meanwhile, Czech Republic (33rd, up 14) and Ecuador (42nd, up 10) have made the biggest jumps.

Three teams are currently in their highest-ever position since the launch of the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking in August 1993: Venezuela (39th, up 1), Cape Verde Islands (57th, up 9) and Antigua and Barbuda (83rd, up 7).

Interestingly, Sao Tome e Príncipe (192nd, new) have been ranked for the first time in four years following their two FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Congo in November.

In all, 131 international 'A' matches were played in the past month, of which 72 were Brazil 2014 preliminaries, eight were EURO 2012 qualifiers and the remaining 51 were friendlies.