Spain, Netherlands top soccer rankings

July 14, 2010 at 10:13 AM
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NYON, Switzerland, July 14 (UPI) -- World Cup champion Spain and runner-up Netherlands have taken over the top two spots in FIFA's world soccer rankings released Wednesday.

Spain moved from second to first in the rankings, retaking the No. 1 spot it held as recently as March. The Netherlands, which went 6-0-0 in South Africa before losing to Spain 1-0 in the final, jumped from fourth to second.

Brazil, which was No. 1 last month, fell to third. Germany and Argentina each improved two places to fourth the fifth, respectively, in the rankings.

Uruguay, a World Cup semifinal loser, made the biggest Top 10 move, rising 10 places to sixth in the rankings. England was up one to seventh but Portugal, which went 1-1-2 in South Africa, fell five places to eighth.

Egypt, which didn't qualify for the World Cup, improved three places to ninth and Chile, 18th before the World Cup where it went 2-2-0, leaped from 18th to 10th.

Italy, the 2006 World Cup champion but which was unable to advance from group play in 2010, fell from fifth to 11th and 2002 World Cup winner France, another team that didn't make 2010 elimination rounds, slipped from ninth to 21st.

The FIFA world rankings are determined by points awarded from match results over a three-year period, with more recent games given greater weight. Teams get additional points for playing relatively strong opponents.

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