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England rise to fourth, now third


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Fifa world rankings - top 20

1. Spain 2. Germany 3. Uruguay 4. England 5. Portugal 6. Italy 7. Argentina 8. Netherlands 9. Croatia 10. Denmark 11. Brazil 12. Greece 13. Russia 14. France 15. Chile 16. Ivory Coast 17. Sweden 18. Czech Republic 19. Mexico 20. Japan

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England are listed as [url=http://www1.skysports.com/football/news/19692/7868112/]the fourth-best team in the world, while Brazil are now in 11th place, the first time they have ever dropped out of the top ten.

Spain, Germany and Uruguay are ahead of England, but their Euro 2012 conquerors Italy are behind them in sixth place despite reaching last Sunday's final.


Such anomalies have puzzled many, but according to Valcke the number of competitive games played is an important criteria.

As host nation in 2014, Brazil will not play any World Cup qualifiers but England could still reach their highest ever ranking of third after their friendly with Italy in August.

Valcke has defended the system, but says that he would like a clearer explanation to be available.

"I know that these rankings are sometimes quite difficult to understand due to the level and numbers of criteria that are taken into account," he said.

"There are teams who are playing more friendly games than other teams and you can see a difference which is not very logical, but the ranking I would say is clearly still a good picture of the level of international football.

"Brazil are not playing official games, just friendly games as they are already qualified.

"There have been internal meetings and also with the football committee to discuss the ranking of the different nations. We want to be able to explain in an easier way how this ranking is based."

The rankings are calculated on an international side's results over the previous four years, with more points awarded for competitive matches than qualifiers, and a weighting towards matches in finals tournaments.


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Three Lions climb to third

Highest-ever standing for England, as Spain continue to top charts

England have moved into third place in the latest FIFA world rankings, their highest-ever standing.

[size=3]The Three Lions struggled to get going at Euro 2012 under new boss Roy Hodgson and exited the competition at the quarter-final stage.[/size]

[size=3]A penalty shoot-out defeat to Italy means England have failed to reach the last four of a major tournament since 1996.[/size]

[size=3]They have, however, edged up the global standings compiled by football's world governing body.[/size]

[size=3]Hodgson's men have improved by one place, clambering above reigning Copa America champions Uruguay into third.[/size]


[size=3]Spain, who successfully defended their European crown in Ukraine and Poland earlier this summer, continue to top the charts.[/size]

[size=3]Germany, who made the semi-finals of Euro 2012, sit second.[/size]

[size=3]There are no further changes inside the top 10, with Portugal, Italy, Argentina, Holland, Croatia and Denmark consolidating their standings.[/size]

[size=3]Five-time World Cup winners Brazil have slipped a further two places into 13th, with France placed 14th following another disappointing showing at Euro 2012.[/size]

[size=3]The Republic of Ireland hold firm in 26th, Wales climb to 37th, Scotland move into 46th place and Northern Ireland sit 101st.[/size]


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