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Wednesday, September 5, 2012
England remain third in FIFA rankings

ESPN staff

England remain in third place in FIFA's latest world rankings, with Portugal the only top ten side to have moved up, rising from fifth to fourth.

The revised rankings, which take into account international fixtures played in August, reveal that Uruguay have swapped places with Paulo Bento's Portuguese.

World and European champions Spain remain top of the pile, with Euro 2012 semi-finalists Germany in second spot. Italy, Argentina, Netherlands, Croatia and Denmark make up the rest of the top ten.

Switzerland move into the top 20, up three places from 23rd, while Slovenia shoot up nine places to 24th.

Giovanni Trapattoni's Republic of Ireland stay in 26th, Wales fall to 45th, Scotland are 47th and Northern Ireland 129th. Belgium, by contrast, rise 13 places to take 40th spot.

Roy Hodgson's England moved up to third - their highest-ever position - in August, despite exiting Euro 2012 at the quarter-final stage.

The national team have not reached the semi-finals of a major competition since hosting the European Championship in 1996, but FIFA said England's poor record at major tournaments had little bearing because only matches played within the last four years are taken into account.

England accumulated most of their ranking points during qualifying campaigns for the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012.

In July, FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke felt he had to defend the world governing body's ranking system, admitting it can throw up situations that seem "not very logical".

Valcke said the rankings, which determine whether teams will be seeded in the draw for the 2014 World Cup, still presented "a good picture of the level of international football" but said FIFA wanted to be able to better explain how they worked.




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