U.S. women solidify No. 1 FIFA ranking

Aug. 17, 2012 at 5:55 AM
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NYON, Switzerland, Aug. 17 (UPI) -- The United States tightened its hold on the top spot in the FIFA women's soccer rankings, which were updated Friday.

The U.S. team won the gold medal at the London Olympics, beating No. 3-ranked Japan 2-1 in the final and No. 7 Canada in the semifinals.

That boosted the Americans' rankings point total to 2,221, which is close to the team's record total of 2,233, reached in May 2010. Germany set the all-time points record with 2,234 in 2005.

The United States has led the quarterly FIFA rankings since March 2008.

Germany, which didn't play in the Olympics, remains the No. 2-ranked team and increased its point advantage over Japan. Germany has 2,168 points while Japan has 2,110, 10 fewer than in the June rankings.

Brazil, an Olympic quarterfinalist, and France, the fourth-place team in London, each move up one spot to fourth and fifth, respectively. Brazil has 2,044 points and France 2,021. Sweden, which was also a quarterfinalist, slips two places to sixth, with 2,019 points.

Canada (2,006 points) remains seventh but No. 8 England (1,970), ninth-ranked Australia (1,948) and No. 10 Italy (1,947) all improve their ranking one place. North Korea, No. 8 in June, slips to 11th with 1,943. The North Koreans failed to advance to the knockout round at the Olympics.

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 FIFA women's rankings are to be released Dec. 7.

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