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ESPN FC  By Dale Johnson

Brazil back on top of FIFA Ranking, Netherlands slump to record low

Brazil will be back on top of the FIFA World Ranking for the first time in six years when the new table is published on April 6.

Coach Tite has led Brazil to nine consecutive wins since taking over as coach, scoring 25 goals and conceding just two. They won 4-1 against Uruguay in Montevideo last week, and they best Paraguay 3-0 on Tuesday to become the first nation to qualify for next year's World Cup, alongside Russia.

Brazil were guaranteed to move up to first with two victories, and they take the place of Argentina, who drop to second after spending 12 months at the top of the Ranking.

La Albiceleste's place at the World Cup is in doubt after losing to Bolivia -- which came hours after Lionel Messi received a four-match ban for verbally abusing a match official. They did win their other qualifier in the past week, 1-0 at home to Chile.

Colombia move up two places to fifth in the table after beating Bolivia and Ecuador, which means four of the top five spots are now held by South American nations. That is at the expense of Belgium, who drop to seventh -- the first time they have been out of the top five in three years.

Switzerland are the only new entry into the top 10, their only game being a 1-0 World Cup qualifying win over Latvia to send them into ninth, two places below their all-time high.

Poland set a new highest position for the third consecutive month, with a 2-1 qualifying win over Montenegro moving them up one to 11th. Italy are also on the rise, climbing three places to 12th.

Netherlands' demise continues as defeats to Bulgaria and Italy will see them plummet 11 places in 32nd, their lowest-ever ranking. That is six places below than their previous record of 26th, achieved last year.

Uruguay are one of the biggest losers this month, dropping six places from ninth to 15th. They now rank below both Wales (13th) and England (14th) after losing to Brazil and Peru.

Northern Ireland move up nine places to within one of their best-ever ranking after a 2-0 World Cup qualifying win over Norway, up into 26th and level with Republic of Ireland.

Peru also climb one place to 17th, setting another record high having consistently climbed over the last 12 months.

Mexico remain the top-ranked nation in CONCACAF, up one place to 16th, with Costa Rica down one in 20th and United States up six to 23rd.

Egypt move up a place into 19th as the best African nation, with Iran up five into 28th to lead the way for Asia.


1. Brazil
2. Argentina
3. Germany
4. Chile
5. Colombia
6. France
7. Belgium
8. Portugal
9. Switzerland
10. Spain
11. Poland
12. Italy
13. Wales
14. England
15. Uruguay
16. Mexico
17. Peru
18. Croatia
19. Egypt
20. Costa Rica

Dale Johnson has been an editor and journalist at ESPN for 18 years. You can follow him on Twitter @dalejohnsonESPN.


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