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FIFA to relax commemoration rules

Blog - FIFA
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ESPN FC  By Dale Johnson

Brazil to return to top of FIFA Ranking as Switzerland and Poland climb

Brazil will return to the top of the FIFA Ranking next month, while both Switzerland and Poland will continue their remarkable rise upwards.

Brazil briefly lost the No. 1 position earlier this month after Germany won the Confederations Cup. But the two nations will swap positions again when the new Ranking is published on Aug. 10 as Germany will lose points due to rolling historical results being devalued.

Argentina will remain in third but the big surprise sees Switzerland move up a place to fourth -- the last time they were as high was in April 1994 -- and Poland climb one to fifth to yet again set a best-ever ranking place.

Both Switzerland and Poland have benefitted from hugely successful World Cup qualifying campaigns, with the Swiss boasting a 100 percent record and the Poles dropping just two points from their six qualifiers.

What has also helped greatly is limiting the number of international friendlies, which only lower the average ranking score and not improve it, with both having played just one since June 2016. 

Compare that to nations more used to being near the top end of the Ranking, with France having played five friendlies, Italy and Spain four, and Portugal and England three -- every time they play a friendly it benefits Switzerland and Poland.

Breel Embolo, right, celebrates after scoring the opener for Switzerland.
Switzerland will now moved up to fourth in the FIFA World Ranking.

Poland are now in a very strong position to be seeded in December's World Cup finals draw as one of the top 7 in the FIFA Ranking in October, while Switzerland could also join them if they win their remaining four qualifying matches.

Netherlands, meanwhile, slump to a new record low by falling four further places to 36th -- they were fifth just two years ago.

There are few other moves at the top end of the ranking, with the CONCACAF Gold Cup the only competition of note taking place.

Mexico, who made it to the semifinals of the Gold Cup, climb two places to 14th and their best position for over a year to remain the top-ranked nation from the confederations.

United States, who beat Jamaica in the final to win the competition, climb nine places to 26th with Costa Rica, the other losing semifinalists, up five into 21st. Jamaica's fine Gold Cup campaign sees them soar 18 places into 58th -- they would have been up to 44th had they won the tournament.

Iran drop one place to 24th but remain the top-ranked Asian team, well ahead of Australia (44th) and South Korea (47th).

Egypt also continue to lead the way in Africa (25th, down 1), with Congo DR two places further back and Senegal in 31st.

AUGUST FIFA RANKING TOP 20
1 Brazil
2 Germany
3 Argentina
4 Switzerland
5 Poland
6 Portugal
7 Chile
8 Colombia
9 Belgium
10 France
11 Spain
12 Italy
13 England
14 Mexico
15 Peru
16 Croatia
17 Uruguay
18 Wales
19 Sweden
20 Iceland

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

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