Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Italy are second best

World champions Italy have moved up one place in the latest FIFA World Rankings despite their disappointing exit at the quarter-finals of Euro 2008.

Italy now lie second behind new leaders Spain, who won their first major trophy in 44 years when they beat Germany in the final in Vienna, becoming only the sixth team to take that honour.

Roberto Donadoni, who guided the Azzurri throughout the competition has since been replaced and new coach Marcello Lippi, in his second stint in charge of the national side, has the task of restoring the glory captured two years ago when they were crowned World Champions in Berlin.

Euro 2008 runners-up Germany occupy third spot in the rankings having moved up from fifth place.

Croatia and the Netherlands, who suffered quarter-final heartbreaks, have moved up to seventh and fifth positions respectively, while Czech Republic, France and Portugal have all dropped down the rankings, but remain in the top ten.

Russia's surprise run to the semi-finals resulted in them surging 13 places to 11th, their best ranking in more than 10 years.

And Greece, European champions in 2004, suffered the biggest drop - from eighth to 18th - after failing to make it out of the group stages this time around.

The big losers are South American giants Argentina and Brazil, who have fallen to fourth and sixth respectively after stuttering starts to their World Cup 2010 qualification campaigns.

The ranking system is based on international results over the past four years, with more points awarded for wins in major tournaments.

FIFA World Rankings (July 2008)
[1] Spain
[2] Italy
[3] Germany
[4] Brazil
[5] Netherlands
[6] Argentina
[7] Croatia
[8] Czech Republic
[9] Portugal
[10] France

[Full Rankings]

Source: FIFA

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