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Brazil plummets to historic low No. 22 in FIFA rankings; Spain top, Netherlands up to 5th

06/06/2013 09:52 EDT | Updated 08/06/2013 05:12 EDT
ZURICH - Five-time World Cup winner Brazil dropped to a historic low of No. 22 in the FIFA rankings on Thursday only one year before hosting the showpiece tournament.

Brazil fell three places this month as it continues to play only friendlies, including a 2-2 draw against England on Sunday. Friendlies score less than competitive matches in FIFA's calculations, which have ranked teams since 1993 across a four-year results cycle.

Brazil can make up ground when it hosts the eight-nation Confederations Cup warm-up event this month. It plays No. 8 Italy, No. 17 Mexico and No. 32 Japan.

World and European champion Spain extended its lead atop the rankings since August 2011. Germany, Argentina and Croatia are next.

The Netherlands, the 2010 World Cup finalists which knocked Spain off the top two years ago, rose four spots. Portugal and Colombia are sixth and seventh. England drops two to No. 9 and Ecuador completes the top 10.

Canada, meanwhile, is down three spots to No. 83.

Belgium and Bosnia-Herzegovina, which lead their World Cup qualifying groups, have risen to their highest-ever ranks of No. 12 and No. 15, respectively.

Ivory Coast leads African nations at No. 13, and 23rd-ranked Mali closed in on Brazil in its best position.

The United States rose one place to No. 28 ahead of resuming its World Cup qualifying campaign in Jamaica on Friday.

FIFA said 30 friendlies were included in the latest calculations. All World Cup qualifiers in June are calculated in the next standings published July 4.

Qatar, the 2022 World Cup host, fell three places to No. 104 and could drop further after a 1-0 home defeat against Iran on Tuesday in a key 2014 qualifier.

Confederations Cup underdog Tahiti, which lost 7-0 to Chile's Under-20 team this week, heads to Brazil at No. 138 in the world.

Tahiti will face fellow continental champions Nigeria, ranked No. 31, Spain and No. 19 Uruguay.

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