India move up in FIFA rankings by default

December 18th, 2008 - 2:47 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 18 (IANS) By default Indian football moved up one rung in the FIFA rankings to end the year at 143rd spot as Euro champions Spain stay at the top. India moved up as other teams around them lost out on negative markings. India started the year at 144 but by April it nose dived to 154.

The loss in the South Asian Football Federation (SAFF) Cup final to lowly ranked Maldives in Colombo in June didn’t improve things. But they still managed to move up one spot to 153 as the final was the only match they lost in the tournament.

But, by winning the AFC Challenge Cup in August, they moved up two places to 152nd in September. And since then India made considerable progress in the next three months to move up nine places.

Another big mover in the latest rankings is Australia, who for the first time have broken into top-30 by jumping nine places to 28th. The move comes following their 1-0 World Cup qualifying win over Bahrain in Manama last month.

The next-best Asian team in the rankings is traditional rivals Japan, who moved up three places to 35th.

European champions Spain retained their position at No.1, 282 points clear of second-placed Germany. England, courtesy their recent good form in World Cup qualifiers, jumped two places to eighth. Spain won all 16 of their matches in 2008.

Germany, beaten finalists at Euro 2000, are still No.2 while the Netherlands rose to No.3, trading places with fourth-placed world champions Italy.

South American rivals Brazil and Argentina followed in fifth and sixth while England continued their revival under coach Fabio Capello, moving up two places to No.8.

The biggest movers of the month included Bolivia (up 13 to No.58), Jamaica (up 18 to No.65) and Kenya (up 17 to No.68).

New Zealand suffered the biggest drop, falling 26 places to No.86.

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