July 2, 2009

Brazil back atop FIFA world rankings

Brazil, which won the Confederations Cup with a second-half, title-game charge, has returned to the top of the FIFA men's world soccer rankings.

Brazil trailed the United States 2-0 at halftime of Sunday's Confed Cup final, but Luis Fabiano scored a pair of goals and Lucio got the game winner in the 84th minute for the championship.

The result vaulted Brazil from fifth to first in the world soccer rankings. Brazil last was atop the rankings in August 2007.

Winning the high-profile Confederations Cup and qualifying for the 2010 World Cup led to a shake-up in the rankings' Top 10, with only No. 4 Italy holding its position.

Spain, which had been No. 1 since June 2008, dropped to second and the Netherlands slipped one spot to third.

After Italy is fifth-ranked Germany, which had been third. Russia moved up three spots to sixth while England and Argentina each dropped one spot to seventh and eighth, respectively.

France moved from 10th to ninth and Croatia, which had been eighth, is 10th.

The second-place finish at the Confed Cup, moved the Americans from 14th to 12th.

The FIFA world rankings are determined by points received from match results over a three-year period, with more recent matches given greater weight. Teams also get more points for playing relatively strong opponents.