Wednesday, February 15, 2012

African champions Zambia on the rise

Zambia's players celebrate together after a meaningful victory over the Ivory Coast  [Reuters]
African Press Organization (APO) — The Africa Cup of Nations in Gabon and Equatorial Guinea, which drew to a close last Sunday, has clearly left its mark on the current edition of the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking, as Zambia, the newly crowned African champions, secured their first-ever title and have thus climbed to 43rd position. 

This is the first time since February 2001 that the team, coached by Hervé Renard, have made it into the top 50. Despite their extremely narrow defeat in the final, Côte d’Ivoire (15th, up 3) remain Africa’s highest-ranked team. 

Aside from the two finalists, third-placed Mali (44th, up 25) as well as host nations Gabon (45th, up 46) and Equatorial Guinea (110th, up 41) have clearly gained considerable ground.
Changes are also to be seen in the top ten, with Germany (2nd, up 1) bumping the Netherlands out of second place to take up position behind Spain, and Portugal (6th, up 1) and Italy (8th, up 1) also making some headway. Denmark have moved into the top ten (10th, up 1), pushing Argentina down to 11th position.
All of these changes in ranking are due to the devaluation of matches from previous years as no top-ten team has played a match in the last month. The balance of power between the confederations remains relatively unchanged: UEFA has 27 teams in the top 50 (down 1), CONMEBOL has 9, CAF 6, CONCACAF 4 (up 1), the AFC 4 and the OFC 0.
The results of 51 international matches have been taken into account in compiling the current edition of the ranking, of which 32 took place as part of the Africa Cup of Nations and 19 were friendly matches.

Management summary

•    Leader Spain (uchanged)

•    Moves into top ten Denmark (10th, up 1)

•    Moves out of top ten Argentina (11th, down 1)

•    Matches played in total 51

•    Most matches played Côte d’Ivoire, Zambia (8 matches each)

•    Biggest move by points Gabon (up 230 points)

•    Biggest move by ranks Gabon (up 46 ranks)

•    Biggest drop by points Egypt (down 153 points)

•    Biggest drop by ranks Egypt, Senegal (down 25 ranks each)

•    Newly ranked teams none

•    Teams that are no longer ranked none

•    Inactive teams (not ranked) none

The next FIFA/Coca-Cola Ranking will be published on 7 March 2012, one week earlier than originally planned.
Ranking as of 15 February 2012

Rank    Team    +/- Ranks    Points    +/- Points

        Jan-Feb 12    Feb 12    Jan-Feb 12

1    Spain

0    1566    +2

2    Germany

+1    1369    +24

3    Netherlands

-1    1359    -6

4    Uruguay

0    1317    +8

5    England

0    1179    +6

6    Portugal

+1    1155    +55

7    Brazil

-1    1152    +9

8    Italy

+1    1115    +33

9    Croatia

-1    1101    +10

10    Denmark

+1    1090    +58


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