ZURICH: Newly-crowned African champions Zambia climbed up into the top 50 of the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking thanks to their shootout victory over Ivory Coast in last Sunday’s final in Libreville, Gabon.
Herve Renard’s team shot up to 43rd place, the first time since February 2001 that Zambia have made it into the top 50. Ivory Coast (15th, up three) remain Africa’s highest-ranked team. Aside from the two finalists, third-placed Mali (44th, up 25) as well as host nations Gabon (45th, up 46) and Equatorial Guinea (110th, up 41) gained considerable ground.
Changes have also occurred in the top 10, with Germany (second, up one place) moving up on leaders Spain while improvements were also registered for Portugal (sixth, up one) and Italy (eighth, up one). Denmark moved into the top 10, pushing Argentina down to 11th position.
All of these changes in ranking are due to the devaluation of matches from previous years as none of the top 10 teams have played any matches in the last month. The balance of power between the confederations remains relatively unchanged: UEFA has 27 teams in the top 50 (down one), CONMEBOL has nine, CAF six, CONCACAF four (up one), the AFC four and the OFC n0ne.