ZURICH: Argentina are back on top of the world in the latest FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking.
The recent performances by Lionel Messi and his team-mates in the 2018 World Cup qualifying competition have helped the 2014 runners-up end Belgium’s five-month reign in No1 spot.
Chile jumped to third (up two places), Colombia to fourth (up four) and Uruguay to ninth (up two) to strengthen the South American grip on the top 10.
By contrast Brazil’s disappointing campaign thus far has seen them slip one place to seventh.
Europe has yet to start its World Cup qualifying campaign and all the recent matches played have been friendlies which carry less computational weight.
A total of 171 games were taken into account for the April ranking which included 51 World Cup qualifiers, 60 continental qualifiers and 60 international friendlies.
Costa Rica (25th, up eight), Turkey (13th, up seven) and Mexico (16th, up six) have all enjoyed impressive gains near the top.
Further down Australia (50th, up 17), Egypt (44th, up nine) and Norway (49th, up two) have broken into the top 50 at the expense of Trinidad and Tobago (53rd, down four), Serbia (55th, down five) and Finland (61st, down 15).
The two most outstanding performers for April hail from the African continent. Guinea-Bissau (up 45) have climbed the most positions by rank, while Morocco (131 points) enjoy the biggest move by virtue of points.
Best-ever positions in the ranking have been achieved by Chile (third, up two), Hungary (18th, up one), Northern Ireland (26th, up two), St Kitts and Nevis (92nd, up 29), Chad (97th, up 30), Kyrgyzstan (100th, up five), Guinea-Bissau (102nd, up 45), Belize (114th, up five), Philippines (116th, up 19) and Comoros (159th, up 14).
The next ranking will be published on May 5.
Moves into top 10: Uruguay (9th, up two)
Moves out of top 10: Austria (11th, down one)
Matches played in total: 171
Most matches played: El Salvador, Iraq, Panama, Syria, Trinidad and Tobago, United Arab Emirates (three matches each)
Biggest move by points: Morocco (plus 131 points)
Biggest move by ranks: Guinea-Bissau (up 45 ranks)
Biggest drop by points: Cape Verde Islands (minus 169 points)
Biggest drop by ranks: Aruba (down 24 ranks)