Nigeria went down a step to 21st place in the current FIFA Ranking for the month of May released yesterday. The Super Eagles were ranked at the 20th place last month.However, the Lars Lagerback led team who fumbled to a lacklustre barren game against Saudi Arabia in Austria on Tuesday maintained their third place in the Africa ranking. Egypt who moved up a ladder on the global ranking at 12th place retained the leadership of the continent. Cameroon stagnated in their 19th place globally to also retain their second slot in Africa ahead of Nigeria.
FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking, the last to be published before the 2010 FIFA World Cup begins in South Africa also saw the head-to-head battle for top spot between leaders Brazil and European champions Spain continues, and both have a clear lead over the chasing pack of Portugal, Netherlands and Italy.
Trailing even farther behind, after Germany, Argentina, England and France, are two teams not participating South Africa 2010 – Croatia and Russia – who are likely to lose even more ground after the tournament.
Meanwhile, hosts South Africa have received a boost, winning not only two friendly matches, but also gaining seven places in the ranking (83rd, up 7), which is more than any other team. The only other teams to climb five or more places were Oman (91st, up 6) and Estonia (99th, up 5). In the top 100, Burkina Faso (48th, up 4) and Montenegro (64th, up 1) are currently in their highest-ever position since the World Ranking was introduced.
Of the top 20 teams, only Croatia, Russia and Egypt will be absent in South Africa. On the basis of this edition of the World Ranking, Group G, which includes Brazil, Portugal and Côte d’Ivoire, is still the strongest, but only if the best three teams are taken into account (average position 10th, points 1,239). However, if all four teams in each group are evaluated, Germany’s Group D (18th on average) comes out on top in terms of rank, while Spain’s Group H is strongest on points (1,013 on average), well ahead of the supposed “group of death” (34th, 1,000 points).The next FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking will be published on 14 July 2010.