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The first FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking of the new year differs from the last edition of 2006. given the limited number of international matches played this month, the top of the list remains largely unchanged. Nevertheless, while Brazil, Italy, Argentina and France continue to lead the way, Germany (up to 1) edge ahead of England into fifth place on account of the devaluation of older results in the ranking’s calculation. A few positions back, Egypt (19th, up 8) surge up the ladder for the same reason.
By contrast, a string of teams from outside the top 50 profit from good results in recent weeks. Returning to the international arena after a two-year absence with five games in the last month, Vietnam (134th, up 38) are the pick of the bunch, while Haiti (92nd, up 10), Lebanon (110th, up 16), Mauritania (122nd, up 11) and Thailand (124th, up 13) also climb.
It is interesting to note that, in the light of the Comoros’ victory over Djibouti in their first ever full international, a result that takes them to 187th place in the pecking order, the world ranking now features all 207 FIFA member associations.
Only 31 new matches – all of them friendlies and most involving Asian teams – have been taken into account in the calculation of the January ranking. 16 were played at the end of 2006, the remainder since the turn of the year.