Spain consolidate their lead
© Foto-net

The current edition of the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking differs only slightly from last month's. After a busy month of June, featuring the European Championship and a large number of qualifying matches for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™, many national teams have taken a break over the last five weeks.

Nonetheless, there have been a few noteworthy changes to the ranking as a result of the devaluation of some results from last year. Thus, Germany (2nd, up 1) have bumped Italy out of second place behind leaders Spain. Croatia (5th, up 2) have achieved their best position since 1999 and South American rivals Brazil (6th, down 2) and Argentina (7th, down 1) have moved down accordingly. In sixth place, top-five stalwarts Brazil have recorded their second-worst placing since the ranking was introduced; the Seleção's worst ranking was eighth place in 1993.

Russia (10th, up 1), on the other hand, have penetrated the top ten for the first time in over ten years thanks to their successful performance at EURO 2008 and the devaluation of results from previous years. European champions Spain remain unchallenged at the top, and have extended their lead to more than 200 points.

There has been little change in the regional composition of the top 50 compared to last month. With 29 and ten teams, respectively, Europe and Africa (each up one team) have slightly increased representation. South America still has six teams in the top 50, while Asia now has three (down 1) and CONCACAF has two (down 1).

The results of 30 international 'A' matches have been taken into account in compiling the current edition of the ranking. In addition to three qualifying matches for the CONCACAF continental championship, 27 friendly matches were played, 15 of which in Africa.