Germany top FIFA World Ranking over Brazil as Portugal, Belgium rise
Germany will return to the top of the FIFA World Ranking when the new standings are published on Sept. 14.
The world champions beat Czech Republic and Norway in World Cup qualifying this week, while former No. 1 side Brazil beat Ecuador but surrendered their place at the summit after being held to a 1-1 draw in Colombia.
Argentina's slide continues after they failed to win either of their games to leave their place at the World Cup in doubt, dropping one place to fourth -- the first time they have been out of the top three in more than three years.
European champions Portugal move up three places into third -- matching their highest-ever placing that was last achieved in 2014. Belgium also rise back up the ranking from ninth to fifth.
The ranking will be crucial next month as the top seven qualified nations will join Russia as World Cup seeds, and at present it is completed by Poland (sixth, down one) and Switzerland (seventh, down three).
Poland suffered defeat to Denmark to severely dent their hopes of being seeded, but it remains in Switzerland's own hands as they will be guaranteed to be in the top seven if they beat Hungary and Portugal next month to top Group B in World Cup qualifying.
France move up two places into eighth, while the top 10 is completed by Chile and Colombia in ninth and 10th respectively, who both drop two positions.
Other highlights of a much-changed ranking see Wales (13th) move up five and back above England (15th) once again, but Italy fall five places into 17th.
Peru climb to a new best-ever ranking of 12th -- their previous best of 14th came in July -- following crucial qualifying wins over Bolivia and Ecuador. Their next qualifier is away to Argentina, and defeat for either could be hugely damaging.
Northern Ireland, set for a European playoff spot, are up three to a best-ever 20th. Denmark are one of the big movers of the month, up 20 places in 26th, while Montenegro move 16 into 36th, Scotland 15 into 43rd and Bulgaria 14 into 38th.
Based on the current ranking and positions, the European playoff seeds would be Portugal, Italy, Slovakia and Northern Ireland, with Iceland, Sweden, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro unseeded. Wales would miss out as the worst runners-up, but so much can change -- who finishes second, and total points -- that other than Italy, plus Portugal or Switzerland, being seeded little is certain.
Most African nations suffer a drop this month, as many played friendly matches too, which negatively affected their average score, but Cape Verde enjoyed a mammoth jump of 47 places from 114th to 67th after back-to-back wins over South Africa.
Egypt just hold on as the top-ranked African nation, down five into 30th, ahead of Tunisia (31st, up three) and Senegal (37th, down six).
Mexico stay 14th as CONCACAF's best team, with Costa Rica also a non-mover in 21st and United States dropping two to 28th.
Iran are still way out in front in Asia, dropping one to 25th, with Japan up four into 40th and Australia down five into 50th. China are up 14 places into 63rd.
The biggest losers of the month include Congo DR (42nd, down 14), Austria (57th, down 20), Czech Republic (58th, down 18) and Algeria (62nd, down 14).
New FIFA World Ranking top 20:
20. Northern Ireland