England back in top ten
© AFP

The 134 international matches played in the last few weeks, including 94 qualifiers for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™, have seen dramatic changes in the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking. Spain continue to lead the way by some distance, but among the chasing pack, Germany (2nd, up 1) and Italy (3rd, down 1), the Netherlands (4th, up 1) and Brazil (5th, down 1), Argentina (6th, up 1) and Croatia (7th, down 1), and Russia (8th, up 1) and the Czech Republic (9th, down 1) have all swapped places. England (10th, up 4) are back in the top ten, sharing tenth position with non-movers Portugal.

This month's major movers among the top 50 are Switzerland (27th, up 18), Serbia (30th, up 10), Ecuador (31st, up 11) and Slovakia (45th, up 15). Also returning to the top 50 along with Slovakia are Mali (49th, up 4). There is no change to the top 50 in terms of regional representation, as Senegal (51st, down 2) and Norway (54th, down 15) have dropped out of this group.

Jamaica have made the biggest leap forward. Crucial 1-0 victories in FIFA World Cup qualifiers against better-ranked opponents from Mexico and Honduras, added to victory in a friendly, have catapulted the Reggae Boyz from 116th to 83rd place. Israel (15th, up 1), Montenegro (115th, up 2) and the Philippines (157th, up 8) also enjoyed a successful month and have attained their highest ranking to date.

A little piece of history has been made at the bottom of the table: Timor-Leste, who have only been affiliated to FIFA since 2005, achieved the first success of their short footballing existence by drawing 2-2 with Cambodia, thus climbing to 198th position.