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By ESPN Staff

Spain maintain world rankings lead for third month

ZURICH, Sept 3 (Reuters) - European champions Spain remiained top of the FIFA world rankings for a third consecutive month on Wednesday, mainly due to last month's 3-0 friendly victory in Denmark.

With European countries not due back in competitive action until the start of 2010 World Cup qualification this weekend, Spain stayed ahead of world champions Italy and Euro 2008 runners-up Germany.

Italy climbed into second place in the rankings, based on national team performances over the past four years, despite being held to a 2-2 draw by Austria in another friendly.

Germany were 2-0 winners over Belgium last month but slipped down to third after losing points overall.

The only other change in the top positions saw Turkey climbing into the top ten for the first time in four years at the expense of fellow Euro 2008 semi-finalists Russia.

Brazil are the best ranked non-European team in sixth place, followed immediately by South American rivals Argentina.

Argentina were unable to benefit from their gold medal success at the Beijing Olympics because the men's tournament, predominantly involving players aged under 23, is not including in the FIFA ranking system.

FIFA rankings (previous position in brackets)
1. (1) Spain
2. (3) Italy
3. (2) Germany
4. (4) Netherlands
5. (5) Croatia
6. (6) Brazil
7. (7) Argentina
8. (8) Czech Republic
9. (9) Portugal
10. (13) Turkey
11. (12) France
12. (10) Russia
13. (11) Romania
14. (15) Cameroon
15. (14) England
16= (16) Scotland
16= (17) Bulgaria
18. (18) Greece
19. (20) Israel
20. (19) Ghana

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