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Spain ends 2012 as FIFA No. 1-ranked team

Dec. 19, 2012 at 7:22 AM

NYON, Switzerland, Dec. 19 (UPI) -- Spain's national team finished as No. 1 in the FIFA men's soccer rankings for the fifth consecutive year, a rankings update Wednesday indicated.

Spain has been ranked on top of the FIFA rankings every month except one since May 2010. The Spaniards have been No. 1 at year's end each year since Argentina was No. 1 in 2007's final ranking.

FIFA said the "Mover of the Year" notice goes to Colombia, which started 2012 ranked 26th but went 6-1-1 on the year and, with a three-place improvement in December, ends the year ranked fifth in the world.

Italy, which is one point in the rankings ahead of Colombia, moved up one spot to fourth while Portugal slipped three to No. 7 and Netherlands is eighth, after a No. 7 ranking in November in the other changes in the FIFA Top 10.

Spain increased its rankings point total to 1,606, pushing its lead over No. 2-ranked Germany (1,437) to 169 points. Argentina is third at 1,290 with Italy (1,165) fourth and Colombia in fifth with 1,164.

England has 1,151 points and remains sixth with No. 7 Portugal totaling 1,144 points and eighth-ranked Netherlands at 1,124. Russia (1,070) and Croatia (1,064) keep the Nos. 9 and 10 rankings, respectively.

The FIFA world rankings are determined by points awarded from match results in a three-year period, with more recent games given greater weight. Teams get additional points for playing relatively strong opponents. The next ranking update is scheduled for Jan. 17.

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