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Zambia U20s showing fruits of new philosophy

Zambia
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By ESPN Staff

Spain stays top of rankings while Brazil tumbles

ZURICH -- European champions Spain extended its lead at the top of the latest world soccer rankings published by FIFA on Wednesday, following a quiet month for the sport.

Spain, who has not played a match since winning Euro 2008 at the end of June, are now leading Germany -- the team they beat to win the title.

Germany climbed from third into second and swapped places with world champions Italy, despite neither side being in action last month.

Teams are able to move around in the monthly rankings system without playing matches because the standings are based on performances over the past four years, with older results being downgraded each month.

Five-time World Cup winners Brazil suffered the biggest drop in the top 10, falling two places to sixth -- its lowest position in 15 years.

Brazil's worst ranking was in 1993 when it was eighth in the world.

The South American's current low owes mainly to their recent poor results in the qualifying campaign for the 2010 World Cup.

Dunga's side have won just two of their first six qualifiers. In June they suffered a 2-0 away defeat against Paraguay and were then held to a goalless draw at home to Argentina.

Fellow former world champions France has also slipped in the rankings following their group stage exit at Euro 2008.

Raymond Domenech's side fell out of the top 10 to 12th, their lowest position since June 1998.

FIFA World rankings (previous position shown in brackets):

1. (1) Spain

2. (3) Germany

3. (2) Italy

4. (5) Netherlands

5. (7) Croatia

6. (4) Brazil

7. (6) Argentina

8. (8) Czech Republic

9. (9) Portugal

10. (11) Russia

11. (12) Romania

12. (10) France

13. (14) Turkey

14. (15) England

15. (13) Cameroon

16. (16) Scotland

17. (17) Bulgaria

18. (18) Greece

19. (20) Ghana

20. (21) Israel

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