ZURICH: Argentina may have been beaten by hosts Chile in last weekend’s final of the Copa America but their results on progressing to runners-up slot have seen them knock world champions Germany from the top of the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking.
Despite losing to Chile on penalties in Santiago, Lionel Messi and his Albiceleste have leapfrogged over Belgium and Germany to take iver No1 spot for the first time in seven years.
Chile moved up eight positions, only just missing out on a top-10 ranking at No11. New entries in the top 10 are Romania (eighth, up four), England (ninth, up six) and Wales, whose win over Belgium in the Euro 2016 qualifiers has seen them surge 12 positions to 10th place.
Twenty-eight teams have managed to climb by more than ten positions, including Belize (118th, up 37), Copa América semi-finalists Paraguay (56th, up 29), the Faroe Islands (74th, up 28) and Venezuela (45th, up 27). Other teams achieving their best-ever rankings this month alongside Wales, the Faroe Islands and Belize are Slovakia (15th, up two), Austria (15th, up five), Iceland (23rd, up 14), Albania (36th, up 15), the Philippines (124th, up 13) and Guam (154th, up 20).
The volatility of the ranking this month is due in part to the many matches that have been played: with 26 Copa América matches, 99 qualifying matches for the World Cup or continental tournaments, and 88 friendlies, the number of matches taken into account has almost doubled the amount for the year so far (477 matches in total). The other reason is that the matches from last year’s World Cup have been devalued.
The next FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking will be published on August 6.
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Leaders: Argentina (up 2)
Moves into top 10: Romania (eighth, up four), England (ninth, up six), Wales (10th, up 12)
Moves out of top ten Spain (12th, down two), Uruguay (13th, down five), France (22nd, down 13)
Matches played in total 213
Most matches played Argentina, Chile, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru (seven matches each)
Biggest move by points Wales (up 226 points)
Biggest move by ranks Belize (up 37 ranks)
Biggest drop by points Germany (down 364 points)
Biggest drop by ranks Central African Republic (down 29 ranks)