Published — Thursday 4 February 2010
Last Update 4 February 2010 3:00 am
ZURICH: Spain kept the top spot in FIFA’s world rankings released Wednesday, and Africa Cup of Nations winner Egypt surged into the top 10.
The United States was unchanged at No. 14, leading the CONCACAF nations. Mexico followed at 17. European champion Spain is followed by Brazil and Netherlands. World champion Italy is fourth and Portugal is fifth. The top nine was unchanged after only No. 8 Argentina played in the past month, beating Costa Rica 3-2 in a friendly match.
Egypt won its third straight continental title Sunday, lifting it 14 places and knocking Croatia down to No. 11. Egypt had a previous high ranking of 15th in January 2009.
Nigeria achieved the highest position by an African nation when it ranked fifth in April 1994. It also made the top 10 in 2006.
Nigeria, which reached the African Cup of Nations semifinals, jumped seven places to No. 15 and runner-up Ghana climbed seven to No. 27.
Cameroon fell nine places to No. 20, and Ivory Coast dropped six to No. 22 after both lost at the quarterfinal stage.
Australia is the top Asian nation at No. 23, a fall of two places, and No. 40 Japan rose three.
New Zealand, the World Cup qualifier from Oceania, climbed three spots to No. 79.