Spain clung to the top of the FIFA
rankings despite modest friendly performances this month while
Venezuela's impressive World Cup qualifying campaign propelled
them to a record high.
Once the whipping boys of South American football, Venezuela
are joint top of the region's World Cup qualifying group along
with Argentina and Uruguay after drawing in Colombia and beating
Bolivia this month.
The only South American country never to have qualified for
a World Cup, Venezuela once dropped as low as 129th but have now
climbed to 39th place, their best position since the rankings
were introduced in 1993.
Cape Verde (57th) and Antigua and Barbuda (83rd) are also in
their highest-ever positions.
Leaders Spain lost 1-0 to England and drew 2-2 with Costa
Rica in away friendlies but those disappointing results have not
dislodged them from top spot.
They are followed by Netherlands, Germany and Uruguay as the
top four remained unchanged.
England's win over Spain at Wembley took them up to fifth
above Brazil, who were involved in low-key friendlies with Gabon
and Egypt and earned fewer points because of the lower rankings
of their opponents despite winning both games.
Ivory Coast are Africa's highest-ranked team at 16th with
Japan leading the Asian contingent in 19th.
At the other end, Sao Tome and Principe, who played their
first full internationals for eight years when they faced Congo
in a two-leg World Cup qualifying tie, re-entered the rankings
at 192nd after an unlikely 1-1 draw in the second match.
Rankings (last month's positions in brackets)
1. (1) Spain
2. (2) Netherlands
3. (3) Germany
4. (4) Uruguay
5. (7) England
6. (5) Brazil
7. (8) Portugal
8. (12) Croatia
9. (6) Italy
10. (10) Argentina
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