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By ESPN Staff
Jan 18, 2006

U.S. advances in FIFA rankings

ZURICH, Switzerland -- The U.S. national soccer team advanced one place to No. 7 Wednesday in FIFA's rankings for January.

Brazil maintained the top spot it has held since July 2002, a month after it won its record fifth World Cup. The next three teams also were unchanged -- Czech Republic, Netherlands and Argentina. France shared fifth with Spain.

Mexico, which was tied for fifth last month, dropped into a tie for seventh with the U.S. England remained ninth, ahead of Portugal.

The next 10 places were almost the same: Turkey was No. 11, followed by Italy, Denmark, Sweden, Japan, Greece, Germany, Uruguay, Iran and Croatia. Only Germany changed places, dropping to 17th from a tie for 16th.

Among teams in the top 20, only Turkey, Denmark, European champion Greece and Uruguay failed to qualify for the 32-nation World Cup, which begins in June 9 in Germany.