Little movement in top ten
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A total of 111 matches have been played since the last edition of the FIFA/Coca-Cola Women’s World Ranking. In addition to a whole host of qualifying matches for continental competitions and the 2012 Olympics in London, two prestigious friendly tournaments took place in early March.

The Algarve Cup in Portugal saw Germany make amends for their early exit from last year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup™ by defeating Japan in the final to lift the cup for the second time. The Cyprus Women’s Cup, which was played at the same time as the event in Portugal, was also the setting for some matches of high quality.

Nevertheless, neither tournament has caused major changes in the top ten. The USA still lead the way at the top but Germany have reduced the gap from five points to just three. World champions Japan sit comfortably in third place, meanwhile, and have slightly stretched their lead over Brazil, who have not been in action in the last three months. France are still in sixth place, but they have made up more than half of the points that separated them from Sweden.

Further down the ranking, the race to qualify for the African Women’s Championship 2012 has led to some movement, with Tanzania’s (125th, up 5) victory in Namibia (120th, up 1), for example, earning them a climb of five places. The biggest move in terms of ranks and points, however, belongs to Cameroon (52nd, up 9), who have benefited from a decision to award them a retrospective victory over Equatorial Guinea for the games played on 2 and 17 April 2011. Papua New Guinea (49th, up 3), meanwhile, have claimed a total of 44 points thanks to four consecutive victories in the OFC Olympic qualifiers to surge into the top 50 for the first time.

Cameroon (1466) and Papua New Guinea (1491) are currently on their highest-ever points totals, as are Japan (2114), Spain (1842), Scotland (1775), Costa Rica (1568) and Wales (1546). For Cameroon, Scotland (21st, up 1), Costa Rica (40th, up 1) and Wales (45th, up 1), these points totals also equate to their highest-ever positions.