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Aug 8, 2013

U.S. back in top 20 after 2-year absence

ZURICH -- The United States has broken into the top 20 of the FIFA rankings for the first time in more than two years after winning last month's Gold Cup.

The U.S. rose three places in the rankings released Thursday to No. 19, the same spot it reached in March 2011. The Americans replace No. 20 Mexico as CONCACAF's highest placed team for the first time since 2011.

With European teams inactive last month, Spain leads an unchanged top 10. Germany is second and Colombia is No. 3.

Confederations Cup winner Brazil remains at No. 9. As host nation for next year's World Cup, Brazil does not play qualifying matches that earn ranking points.

Ivory Coast is still Africa's highest-ranked team, though it drops five places to No. 18. Japan leads Asia at No. 37.

Panama, which beat Mexico in a Gold Cup semifinal, jumps 11 spots to No. 40.

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