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Sporting seek compensation for players who quit

Sporting CP
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ESPN FC  By Dale Johnson

Germany stay top of FIFA World Ranking; Italy slump, Tunisia soar

Germany will stay top of the new FIFA World Ranking following March's round of international fixtures, despite losing 1-0 to second-placed Brazil on Tuesday.

Gabriel Jesus scored the only goal of the game in Berlin but it won't be enough for Tite's side to leapfrog the reigning world champions at the top of the ranking when the next update is published on April 12.

Germany have been in the No. 1 position, with Brazil in second, for the past eight months, and before that the two nations had been trading places. It's now 13 months since any other nation was top, with Argentina being on the summit in March 2017.

Belgium are back on the rise once more, with a 4-0 victory over Saudi Arabia moving them up two places into third for the first time since their descent from first position two years ago.

Portugal and Argentina both drop one place, into fourth and fifth respectively. It is the first time Argentina have been outside of the top four since 2014.

Despite beating Argentina 6-1 on Tuesday night, Spain will actually drop one place to eighth, with Poland the big fallers down four places from sixth to 10th. Switzerland (6th) and France (7th) are the beneficiaries and both climb up two places, with Chile up one into ninth.

There is no movement into the top 10, with Peru and Denmark keeping hold of 11th and 12th.

England are the biggest climbers within the top 20, moving up three into 13th. But Tunisia, England's opening opponents at the World Cup finals, have made giant strides to move into it as the top African nation, rising nine places into 14th. It is Tunisia's best-ever ranking by some way, surpassing their 19th position held in 1998 -- when England beat Tunisia 2-0 in the World Cup finals.

Colombia (16th) and Croatia (18th) both drop three places, but the biggest fallers within the top 30 nations are Italy, slumping six places into 20th and now behind Netherlands (19th). It is the Azzurri's lowest-ever position, having never been below 17th before, and they are likely to drop further after failing to make the World Cup.

Iceland (22nd) and Sweden (23rd) are down four and Wales (21st) also lose their place inside the top 20 for the first time since 2016.

Mexico (15th) are still the top CONCACAF nation, ahead of United States (24th) and Costa Rica (25th).

In Africa, Tunisia are followed by Senegal (28th) and Congo DR (38th).

Iran remain top-ranked in Asia, holding 36th spot, with Australia 40th.

World Cup hosts Russia will fall to an all-time low of 66th.

New FIFA Ranking top 20

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

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

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