Thrilling tussle at the top
© AFP

There are no changes in the top five of the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking, with Argentina still leading the way ahead of Brazil, Italy, Spain and Germany. There is likely to be a thrilling tussle for the top spot in the next few weeks, however, with Brazil only ten points behind their great Argentinian rivals.

Greece (8th, up 2) are the only team to have made ground in the top ten, their victory over Portugal (9th, down 1) actually seeing them overtake the Portuguese. Incidentally, eighth place also represents the European champions' highest-ever position in the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking. Another team currently sitting higher than ever before is Israel (20th, up 2), who are also in the top 20 for the first time.

Outside of the top 50, a number of teams from the CONCACAF zone and from Asia have made noteworthy progress on the back of victories in the race to qualify for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™. Gambia (83rd, up 19), Qatar (83rd, up 16), Barbados (116th, up 21), Grenada (142nd, up 15), Puerto Rico (149th, up 19), Montenegro (153rd, up 22), St. Lucia (168th, up 17) and the British Virgin Islands (173rd, up 20) are the teams that have taken the biggest strides. Gambia and Montenegro are another two teams who are currently in their best-ever position.

A total of 86 international 'A' matches have been played in the last four weeks. The 22 matches (12 in CONCACAF, 10 in AFC) in the preliminary competition for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ were of particular importance to the world ranking, whereas the other 64 matches were friendlies. The total number of international "A" matches played in 2008 currently stands at 228.