Spain stay top as Russia climb
© AFP

There are no changes to the top three in the latest edition of the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking: European champions Spain remain unchallenged at the top and have even managed to extend their lead over their nearest challengers Italy and Germany.

Things are far more exciting in the next few spots in the ranking. Brazil (4th, up 2), the Netherlands (5th, down 1) and Croatia (6th, down 1) are all within a few points of each other and, together with Argentina (7th), are locked in an exciting battle. Russia (9th) have moved up three places, thus managing to break back into the top ten at the expense of Turkey (13th, down 3).

The month's biggest winners, however, are unquestionably from Oceania. On the back of two convincing victories over New Caledonia in their 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ qualifying campaign, New Zealand have gained 268 points and are currently ranked 54th. This means the All Whites are once again the highest-ranked OFC team.

Other climbers this month include Israel (16th, up 3), Lithuania (37th, up 17) and FYR Macedonia (46th, up 10), all of whom have recorded their best placing since the ranking was introduced.

A total of 125 international 'A' matches have been played worldwide since the last edition of the ranking, of which 106 were qualifiers for South Africa 2010. The remaining internationals were qualifiers for the CONCACAF Gold Cup (six matches) and friendlies (13 matches).