Spain is FIFA's new No. 1; U.S. plunges to 30th

July 2, 2008

ZURICH, Switzerland -- Spain jumped to the top of FIFA's monthly rankings for the first time following its triumph at the European Championship, with Brazil and Argentina both falling out of the top three.

The United States continued its fall from the highest echelons of world soccer, falling nine places to 30th on the list. Teams are ranked based on points awarded for performances in matches in the last four years.

Spain's 1-0 victory over Germany in Sunday's Euro 2008 final lifted it three places, making it the sixth team -- along with France, Germany, Brazil, Italy and Argentina -- to claim the top spot since the rankings began 15 years ago. The Spaniards have 1,557 points.

Italy's run to the quarterfinals was enough to push it up one spot to second place with 1,404 points, while Germany jumped two places to third with 1,364.

Brazil dropped to fourth place in the list published Wednesday, the first time since November 1993 that the five-time World Cup champions have been outside the top three.

The American squad stumbled from its previous ranking of 21st, accumulating 780 points in the latest survey. That places the U.S. team behind countries such as Ivory Coast (28th) and Paraguay (25th).

Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press