African teams on the march
© AFP

Ninety-one games have been taken into account for the March edition of the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking, three-quarters of which were friendly matches.

The Netherlands (2nd, up 1) are once again Spain’s closest challengers thanks to their 3-2 victory in England, which was coupled with a 2-1 defeat for Germany (3rd, down 1). Meanwhile, Argentina (8th, up 3) have returned to the top ten after a one-month absence, pushing Denmark (11th, down 1) out of the coveted positions in the process.

In Asia, ten matches in the third round of the preliminary competition for the 2014 FIFA World Cup™ have left their mark. Uzbekistan (67th, up ten) sensationally defeated Japan (33rd, down 3) 1-0 to claim top spot in their group, and they now head into round four defending an unbeaten record. Korea Republic (30th, up 4) have also benefited from Japan’s slip-up to surge past the Samurai Blue for the first time since 2004, whereas Australia (20th, up 2) have also returned to the top 20 thanks to their high-scoring 4-2 victory over Saudi Arabia.

The biggest climbers of the month all come from Africa, however, with the victors of 13 matches in the second round of CAF Africa Cup of Nations 2013 qualifying all securing the most points, and Congo (101st, up 29), Chad (112th, up 29) and São Tomé e Príncipe (115th, up 53) in particular all causing a stir. São Tomé e Príncipe and Estonia (47th, up 7) are both also currently in their highest-ever positions since the introduction of the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking.

The next FIFA/Coca-Cola Ranking will be published on 11 April 2012.