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Spain tops world rankings, Portugal back in top 10

EUROPEAN champion Spain stayed top of FIFA's world rankings for the ninth straight month and neighbor Portugal returned to the top 10 in the latest rankings released yesterday.

The top five is unchanged, with Euro 2008 runner-up Germany at No. 2 ahead of the Netherlands. World champion Italy keeps fourth spot despite losing 2-0 to fifth-placed Brazil in a friendly match last month.

Argentina and Croatia are next, while Russia climbs a place to eighth, replacing England which drops one. Portugal moves up two places to 10th, nudging Turkey down to No. 11.

Cameroon is the top African country, unchanged at No. 16.

The United States rose for the fourth straight month, climbing three spots to 17th. The U.S. is now six ahead of Mexico for supremacy in the CONCACAF region, after beating its traditional rival 2-0 in a World Cup qualifier last month.

Australia is best of the Asian confederation nations, though it drops five places to 32nd. New Zealand is the leading Oceania country at No. 79.

Among the improvers were Norway, which beat Germany 1-0 in a friendly last month and climbed 11 places to reach 45th; Cyprus rose 14 places to No. 84. The biggest move was made by Equatorial Guinea, up 15 to 109th.

Slovakia had the sharpest drop, falling 11 places to 53rd.

A total of 52 matches counted toward the new rankings.


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