As expected, the latest FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking shows the effects of EURO 2004 and recent FIFA World Cup™ qualifying matches. France and Spain are unable to close the gap on leaders Brazil and the top European duo may also count themselves rather fortunate not to have been overtaken by the Czech Republic (4th, up 7).
The Czechs, meanwhile, saw their dreams dashed by this month's sensations, Greece. Having climbed possibly the greatest ever number of places in the upper reaches of the ranking, the new European champions (14th, up 21) are in their highest ever position. They also put paid to Portuguese hopes of rejoining the top ten (12th, up 10), while the progress of England (8th, up 5) and the USA (7th, up 2), the latter sailing in the slipstream of EURO 2004, is also worthy of note.
Just two years before hosting the FIFA World Cup™, Germany (12th, down 4) are faced with the prospect of slipping further down the ranking, particularly as the hosts will now be playing friendly matches and not World Cup qualifiers, games that reward successful teams with a high number of points.
Outside Europe, a number of teams make good progress on the back of impressive performances in 2006 FIFA World Cup™ qualifiers. Teams from CAF and CONCACAF catch the eye more than most, with the following teams climbing more than ten places: Ghana (71st, up 18 - the second biggest mover of the month), Trinidad and Tobago (63rd, up 14), Cuba (66th, up 14), Libya (70th, up 12), Panama (106th, up 14), St. Kitts and Nevis (108th, up 12), Korea DPR (114th, up 11) and Cape Verde Islands (134th, up 12).
- The next FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking will be published on 4 August 2004.