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Spain complete full year as top team

London, Dec 19 (Agencies)
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Published on 19 Dec. 2012 10:42 PM IST
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World and European champions Spain have been rewarded for their ongoing success with the completion of a full year at the top of the FIFA rankings as Brazil plummet to 18th.

Spain’s closest competitors are second-placed Germany. Italy, who Spain convincingly beat 4-0 in the summer’s European Championship final, climb one place to fourth while England, despite their disappointing progress, remain sixth.

Heading a top 10 that has no new entrees, Spain’s placing means they are to end a fifth consecutive year at first in the world rankings.
Even if their presence at sixth appears underserved, England are the Home Nations’ sole representative in the top 20. Scotland are 72nd, Wales are 82nd and Northern Ireland are joint 96th, while Republic of Ireland are joint 42nd.

The 2014 World Cup hosts Brazil have fallen as a result of playing only non-competitive fixtures and after their failure to win last month within a rankings system based upon a four-year results cycle.
They lost 2-1 to rivals Argentina, who remain third, and drew with Colombia, who have surprised many by reaching fifth.
It perhaps should not be overlooked, however, that their defeat to Argentina followed a 2-1 victory over them in September that levelled the aggregate score of their friendly double header at 3-3. When that match - in which only domestic league players were used - then went to penalties, Brazil won 4-3.

Colombia’s ascent represents a significant improvement on 2011. At the same stage last year they were the world’s 36th best team but six wins, a draw and only one defeat since have ensured their climb.

Ivory Coast are the highest ranked African side, 15th-placed Mexico are North America’s highest side and Japan, at 22nd, are Asia’s highest.

With 27 teams throughout the top 50 and 10 of the world’s top 12 teams, European football remains the overall dominant power.
FIFA RANKINGS

Rankings for December (November positions in parentheses)
1. Spain (1)
2. Germany (2)
3. Argentina (3)
4. Italy (5)
5. Colombia (8)
6. England (6)
7. Portugal (4)
8. Netherlands (7)
9. Russia (9)
10. Croatia (10)
11. Greece (12)
12. Switzerland (16)
13. Ecuador (17)
14. Ivory Coast (15)
15. Mexico (14)
16. Uruguay (11)
17. France (18)
18. Brazil (13)
19. Algeria (19)
20. Sweden (23)

 
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