Euro 2012

Euro champion Spain extends FIFA rankings lead; Italy sixth

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Associated Press
7/4/2012 9:32:34 AM
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ZURICH, Switzerland -- Spain's successful defence of the European Championship extended the World Cup winner's lead atop the FIFA world rankings on Wednesday, and beaten finalist Italy climbed six places to No. 6.

The surge in points for European teams pushed Brazil down six place to No.11 and its worst position since the rankings began in 1993. The 2014 World Cup host is hurt by not playing any competitive matches recently.

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

Canada rose nine spots to 68th after posting a 0-0 draw with Honduras and beating Cuba 1-0 in World Cup qualifying. Canada also drew 0-0 with the U.S. in a friendly last month.

England rose two places to No. 4 despite failing to reach the semifinals of every major tournament since 1996. The rankings weigh all results, including friendlies, 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 CONCACAF team.

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.

A total of 133 matches counted for ranking points in the past month, including 31 at Euro 2012, 60 World Cup qualifiers and 15 qualifiers for the 2013 African Cup of Nations.

Cesc Fabregas Spain celebrates (Photo: Martin Rose/Getty Images)

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(Photo: Martin Rose/Getty Images)
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