Sao Tome upstage Brazil, Argentina in FIFA rankings
Berne: Argentina moved back into the top 10 of the FIFA rankings on Wednesday and Brazil also climbed, although the two South American giants were upstaged by tiny Sao Tome and Principe, who leapt 53 places.
Argentina, who dropped out of the top 10 last month, leapt three places to eighth after Lionel Messi`s hat-trick gave them a 3-1 friendly win in Switzerland last week.
Five-times world champions Brazil, whose ranking of seventh was their lowest since 1993, climbed to fifth thanks to a 2-1 friendly win over Bosnia. Fourth-placed Uruguay, Copa America champions and World Cup semi-finalists, remain the continent`s best-placed team.
World champions Spain, 5-0 winners over Venezuela last week, stayed top and Netherlands moved into second spot thanks to their 3-2 win over England, swapping places with Germany, who lost 2-1 at home to France.
Tiny Sao Tome and Principe out-performed them all, however, as they leapt 53 places to 115th after beating Sierra Leone 2-1 in a 2013 African Nations Cup qualifier, their fourth match without defeat.
The Portuguese-speaking island nation had dropped out of the rankings altogether after failing to play an international match for eight years, returning to the fold with a 5-0 home defeat by Congo in a World Cup qualifier last November.
Since then, the Falcons and Parrots have held the Congolese 1-1 and beaten Lesotho 1-0 on aggregate in a preliminary round Nations Cup qualifier.
Rankings (last month`s positions in brackets)
1. (1) Spain
2. (3) Netherlands
3. (2) Germany
4. (4) Uruguay
5. (7) Brazil
6. (5) England
7. (6) Portugal
8. (11) Argentina
9. (8) Italy
10. (9) Croatia