World Cup hosts up to third
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There has been some movement in the last edition of the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking before the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™: although the leading duo of Spain and Germany remain unchanged, Brazil will start the tournament in third place, having leapfrogged Portugal, while Argentina (5th, up 2) and Switzerland (6th, up 2) have each climbed two places and England (10th, up 1) have returned to the top ten at the expense of Greece (12th, down 2).

A glance at the respective strengths of the World Cup groups makes for interesting reading: taking the average ranks and points totals of each set of four teams into account, Group D (Uruguay, Costa Rica, England, Italy) and Group G (Germany, Portugal, Ghana, USA) are the strongest groups. Group D is the only one containing three top-ten teams, while Group H (Belgium, Algeria, Russia, Korea Republic) has no such team.

Special mention must be made of Palestine (94th, up 71), whose four wins and one draw secured them the AFC Challenge Cup together with participation in a continental final competition for the first time, the AFC Asian Cup, due to be held in Australia next January. As a result, Palestine have achieved their highest-ever position in the ranking, as have Aruba (120th, up 35), Azerbaijan (83rd, up 2), Montserrat (166th, up 22) and South Sudan (185th, up 16).

The results of 112 “A” international matches have been taken into account for the current edition of the ranking, with 67 friendly matches plus continental qualifiers in CAF (26 matches), the AFC (16) and CONCACAF (3) being played up to 30 May.

Leader

Spain (unchanged)

Moves into top ten

England (10th, up 1)

Moves out of top ten

Greece (12th, down 2)

Matches played in total

112

Most matches played

Afghanistan (7 matches)

Biggest move by points

Palestine (up 270 points)

Biggest move by ranks

Palestine (up 71 ranks)

Biggest drop by points

Egypt (down 83 points)

Biggest drop by ranks

Saudi Arabia (down 15 ranks)