World Football ranking
ITALY BACK ON TOP
A 2-1 victory over Ukraine in the race to qualify for EURO 2008 sees World Cup holders Italy (1st, up 2) climb ahead of Argentina (2nd, unchanged) and Brazil (3rd, down 2) in the latest FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking. The leading trio of teams have a clear advantage over the chasing pack, although Germany (4th, up 1) and the Netherlands (5th, up 2) have overtaken France (6th, down 2), who have lost a considerable amount of points on the back of their defeat at the hands of Scotland. Meanwhile, the Scots have taken giant strides up to 14th (up 9) thanks to victories over Lithuania and France in the European Championship qualifiers, thereby equalling their best-ever position in the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking.
There is also notable movement outside of the top 50. Several European teams have enjoyed significant gains after victories in EURO 2008 qualifiers, including Wales (53rd, up 21), Hungary (55th, up 10), Belgium (60th, up 9), Cyprus (68th, up 14), Slovenia (75th, up 19), Iceland (80th, up 37), Moldova (81st, up 25) and Latvia (94th, up 16). The 2010 FIFA World Cup™ preliminary competition has also catapulted a number of Oceanian teams up the table with Fiji (119th, up 51), the Solomon Islands (121st, up 40), New Caledonia (124th, up 44), Vanuatu (133rd, up 34) and Samoa (147th, up 44) all claiming more than 100 points and jumping more than 30 places. New Zealand (156th, down 7), who are yet to start their World Cup qualifying campaign, have therefore lost their lead in Oceania, at least for the time being.
After defeating Cameroon in the qualifiers for the Africa Cup of Nations, Equatorial Guinea (72nd, up 33) are also among the major movers in September and they too currently sit in their best-ever position in the ranking.