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Real escape with hope of progress

What the papers say
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Spain remain top of world rankings

World and European champions Spain remain top of the pile in an unchanged top ten in FIFA's latest world rankings.

Spain stay ahead of a top five of Germany, Argentina, Italy and Colombia. Europe completes the top ten with England, Portugal, Netherlands, Russia and Croatia trailing just behind.

Ecuador in 12th place and Haiti in 38th place both climbed one place to highest-ever positions, while Cuba are the biggest climbers, jumping up 12 spots to 88th, as 46 international matches in the past month counted toward the standings.

The United States remain unchanged at 28th, while 2014 World Cup hosts Brazil remain in 18th.

Ivory Coast are the highest-ranked African team in 14th ahead of the upcoming African Cup of Nations, which kicks off on Saturday. Defending champions Zambia drop five places to 39th.

Elsewhere, Mexico lead CONCACAF at 15th, while Japan top Asia in 21st spot, up one place.

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