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Spain extends lead atop FIFA rankings, Italy 6th
Posted Wednesday, July 04, 2012 by YAHOO Sport

ZURICH (AP) -- Spain's successful defense of the European Championship extended its lead atop FIFA's world rankings, and runner-up Italy climbed six places to No. 6.

The United States fell eight places to No. 36.

The surge in points for European teams dropped Brazil six places to No.11, its worst position since the rankings began in 1993. The 2014 World Cup host was hurt by not playing any competitive matches recently.

Germany, which lost a semifinal to Italy, climbed one spot to second, edging South American champion Uruguay into third.

England rose two places to No. 4 despite failing to reach the semifinals at any major tournament since 1996. The rankings weigh all results, including exhibitions, over a four-year cycle.

Portugal's run to the Euro 2012 semifinals lifted it five places to No. 5.

Argentina held at No. 7, and the Netherlands dropped four to No. 8, after the World Cup runner-up lost all three of its matches at Euro 2012.

Croatia and Denmark completed the top 10.

Ivory Coast held its place at No. 16 to be the highest ranked African team.

Mexico stayed at No. 19 to lead the CONCACAF region that includes the U.S.

Japan is the best Asian confederation member, rising one to No. 20.

New Zealand climbed five to No. 95 as the best Oceania team, though new Oceania Nations Cup champion Tahiti surged 41 places to No. 138.

    Rank Team W/D/L Pts

    Cities & Stadiums

    The Top 3 Teams of Previous Tournaments

    Year Winners Runner-up Third place
    2008SpainGermanyRussia / Turkey
    2004GreecePortugalNetherlands / Czech Republic
    2000FranceItalyNetherlands / Portugal
    1996GermanyCzech RepublicFrance / England
    1992DenmarkGermanyNetherlands / Sweden
    1988NetherlandsSoviet UnionItaly / West Germany
    1984FranceSpainDenmark / Portugal
    1980West GermanyBelgiumCzechoslovakia
    1976CzechoslovakiaWest GermanyNetherlands
    1972West GermanySoviet UnionBelgium
    1964SpainSoviet UnionHungary
    1960Soviet UnionYugoslaviaCzechoslovakia