Nigeria slip in FIFA rankings

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Nigeria dropped one place in the FIFA rankings released on Thursday, staying at 31st but remained the fourth best in Africa.

The team, which moved up 22 places up to the 30th immediately after winning the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations in February, failed to make an upward movement in the latest rankings no thanks to their 1-1 result against the Harambee Stars of Kenya in a World Cup qualifier last month.

Ivory Coast, which fell to Nigeria at the quarter-finals of the AFCON, were rated best in Africa with their 1,008 points ahead of Ghana, who were second, and  Mali, who were third.

Algeria (35), Tunisia (41), Zambia (45) and Burkina Faso (50) lined up behind Nigeria in Africa’s top ten. But the interesting part of the continent’s top ten is the presence of Equatorial Guinea and Cameroon in completing the lot.

Equatorial Guinea moved up 45 places to 59th, while the former African champions are 60th after moving up 19 places.

Perhaps the most interesting part of the world rankings is not the continuous hold on the number one spot by Spain but the fall of Brazil to their lowest ranking ever. The five-time world champions dropped one place to 19th due to a lack of competitive matches.

Brazil, who won the World Cup in 1958, 1962, 1970, 1994 and 2002, were ranked as the best team in the world as recently as May 2010, but are now below Greece (13th), Switzerland (15th) and Belgium (16th).

FIFA said a total of 120 Grade A international matches were taken into account for the April edition of the rankings, the majority of them qualification matches for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

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