Argentina tops in the FIFA rankings

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Zurich, Oct 24: Argentina have returned to the top of FIFA's world rankings after winning their first two qualifying matches for the 2010 World Cup.

The South Americans secured 2-0 victories away to Venezuela and at home to Chile earlier this month to climb above Brazil and Italy in the monthly standings.

Italy, who topped the rankings last month, fell to third despite two wins of their own.

The World Cup holders matched Argentina with two 2-0 wins in October, over South Africa and Georgia.

Italy gained less ranking points because of Georgia's own low ranking and the fact that the game against South Africa was a friendly.

The Italians also dropped points under the rolling system used by FIFA to evaluate national teams, with a more heavily-weighted win over Ukraine in October 2006 being devalued.

England have dropped out of the top 10, slipping to 11th following a 2-1 defeat away to Russia in their penultimate qualifying match for next year's European Championships.

Russia, who are now strongly placed to deny England a place at the Euro 2008 finals, have soared ten places to 16th thanks purely to their Oct. 7 win in Moscow.

Top 20 rankings (previous positions in brackets): 1. (2) Argentina 2. (3) Brazil 3. (1) Italy 4. (6) France 5. (4) Germany 6. (7) Spain 7. (5) Netherlands 8. (8) Portugal 9. (11) Czech Republic 10. (10) Croatia 11. (9) England 12. (12) Romania 13. (14) Scotland 14. (15) Greece 15. (13) Mexico 16. (26) Russia 17. (19) Uruguay 18. (18) U.S.

19. (23) Nigeria 20. (16) Poland


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