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Brazil No. 1 going into World Cup

  |   May 26, 2010 at 8:53 AM
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NYON, Switzerland, May 26 (UPI) -- Brazil will take the world No. 1 soccer ranking into the 2010 World Cup tournament.

The Brazilians, who supplanted Spain as the top-ranked soccer team last month, head the World Cup's Group G, which also features No. 3 Portugal and is the only group with two Top 10 teams.

No. 2-ranked Spain, which had been No. 1 since last October, leads Group H.

With only 20 matches affecting the rankings in the last month as teams selected their World Cup rosters, there was only one change in the FIFA Top 10. That was France moving up one spot to No. 9, pushing Croatia to 10th. Croatia is the highest-rated team that didn't qualify for the 2010 World Cup.

The Netherlands is ranked No. 4, ahead of fifth-ranked Italy while Germany retained the No. 6 spot, Argentina is seventh and England remained eighth.

Using the rankings as the sole comparison, Germany's Group D is the most difficult overall as it includes No. 15. Serbia, No. 20 Australia, and No. 32 Ghana. Group G, with No. 27 Ivory Coast going against Brazil and Portugal is also tough, with the fourth team North Korea, at No. 105 the lowest-rated team in this year's competition.

The World Cup begins June 11 in South Africa.

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