Brazil the world team of the year for fifth straight year
ZURICH, Switzerland -- Brazil was selected FIFA's top soccer team of the year for the fifth straight year, beating out World Cup winner Italy.
Brazil finished with 1,588 points in the final rankings released Monday by soccer's world governing body. Brazil had 10 wins, one draw and one defeat -- its World Cup quarterfinal loss to France. Italy was second with 1,560 points.
"Brazil's four victories in Germany and highly consistent performances in friendly matches, irrespective of their opponents and the venue, were still more than the most promising chasing teams had to offer," FIFA said in a statement.
Italy may have finished on top if it had performed better after beating France on penalty kicks to win its fourth World Cup title in July. Italy lost 2-0 to Croatia and drew 1-1 with Turkey in exhibitions and drew 1-1 with Lithuania and lost 3-1 to France in European Championship qualifiers after the World Cup.
Italy was chosen "mover of the year" by FIFA, having risen from 12th to second.
The top 10 hasn't changed since last month -- Argentina is third, followed by France, England, Germany, Netherlands, Portugal, Nigeria and the Czech Republic.
The highest mover in the top 25 was Guinea, which moved from 27th to 24th.
The United States remained in 31st place.