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Soccer News Wed, 14 Feb 2007

Ghana Moves Up in FIFA rankings

... Italy oust Brazil to take top spot
According to the latest rankings posted on FIFA's website, Ghana is now the third best team in Africa and the 22nd best in the world.

Ghana gained 20 points and moved six places up in the rankings from her 28th position.

Ghana has not been beaten at the highest level since they lost 3-0 to Brazil in the second round of Germany 2006. Since then the Black Stars won four of the five high profile matches including two during their playing tour of Asia. Ghana defeated Japan 1-0, South Korea 3-1, Togo 2-0 and pulled a 1-1 draw with Australia in their fifth game and then massacred Nigeria 4-1 last week.

Cameroon disposed Nigeria as the best in Africa and and Cote d'Ivoire are second.

Following a successful year for the 2006 FIFA World Cup winners, Italy managed to topple Brazil and reclaim the top spot for the first time since November 1993, ending Brazil's remarkable 55-month run at the top of the leader board.

For their part, the South Americans recently suffered a 0-2 friendly defeat to Portugal, currently ranked eighth.

There is otherwise no change in the top five: Brazil are followed by Argentina, France and Germany. Spain return to the top ten for the first time since October last year (tenth, up 2).

Larger losses in February can be most clearly seen among the African teams: Cameroon (17th, down 6), Nigeria (36th, down 27), Egypt (42nd, down 23), Tunisia (45th, down 13) and Guinea (62nd, down 40) all slip down the ranking. All five teams have suffered from the depreciation in points of CAF Africa Cup of Nations matches played in January 2006. On a more positive note, several African teams improved their position over the past few weeks, with Ghana (22nd, up 6), Burkina Faso (57th, up 5) and 2010 FIFA World Cup™ hosts South Africa (59th, up 10) making notable gains.

This month's ranking covers 87 new matches, most of them friendlies (74), with the remaining 13 games classed as continental qualifiers (Gold Cup, UEFA EURO 2008).

The rankings, which are used to determine seedings at international tournaments, are based on the results of the past four years with extra weight given to more recent matches.

The strength of the opposition and the nature of the competition are also considered, with tournament and qualifying matches earning more points than friendly games.



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