Italy top of the world in new FIFA rankings

September 19, 2007

ZURICH, Switzerland, Sept 19 (Reuters) - World champions Italy have returned to the top of FIFA's world rankings after leaping above Argentina and former leaders Brazil.

The Italians benefited from a 2-1 away win over Ukraine in a qualifying match for next year's European Championship and also picked up points for a 0-0 home draw with France.

Brazil enjoyed three wins out of three over Algeria, the United States and Mexico but still dropped from top spot to third place, since the matches were friendlies carrying less rankings points than Italy's games.

World Cup runners-up France have fallen two places to sixth following their shock 1-0 home defeat by Euro 2008 qualifying rivals Scotland.

Scotland are the biggest climbers in the top 20, leaping nine places to 14th thanks to the France win and a 3-1 qualifying victory over Lithuania.

England have returned to the top 10, going above European Championship qualifying Group D rivals Croatia to claim ninth spot.

Croatia still lead England in the race for Euro 2008 but gained less rankings points last month following wins over lower-ranked opposition.

England chalked up 3-0 victories over Israel and Russia while the Croatians beat Estonia 2-0 and handed out a 6-0 thrashing to Andorra.

• Top 20 rankings


1. (3) Italy
2. (2) Argentina
3. (1) Brazil
4. (5) Germany
5. (7) Netherlands
6. (4) France
7. (8) Spain
8. (10) Portugal
9. (12) England
10. (6) Croatia
11. (8) Czech Republic
12. (13) Romania
13. (11) Mexico
14. (23) Scotland
15. (14) Greece
16. (20) Poland
17. (15) Ukraine
18. (17) USA
19. (21) Uruguay
20. (19) Sweden