August 5, 2009

Brazil remains No. 1 in FIFA rankings

Brazil remains the world's top-ranked men's soccer team while Italy slipped one spot to No. 5 in ratings released Wednesday by FIFA.

Despite losing 30 ranking points in August, Brazil held onto the top spot it retook last month after a year of being ranked either fourth or fifth in the monthly rankings.

A year ago Italy was No. 2, but it has been losing rating points as older matches are devalued. As a result, the Italians fell from fourth to fifth in August. Germany benefited, moving from fifth to fourth.

The Germany-Italy switch was the only change among the top 19 teams in the FIFA rankings.

Spain is ranked second behind Brazil with the Netherlands third. Russia kept its No. 6 spot followed by, in order, England, Argentina, France and Croatia.

The United States, on the strength of a runner-up finish at the Confederations Cup, was poised to move into the Top 10, but a 5-0 loss to Mexico in the CONCACAF Gold Cup final stalled that, leaving the Americans rated No. 12.

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.