LONDON - World champions Spain returned to the top of the FIFA rankings on Wednesday while Brazil dropped to third place and Italy slumped to 11th.
World Cup finalists the Netherlands also leapfrogged Brazil for second, a rise of two places, while England surprisingly moved up a rung to seventh despite a disappointing tournament in South Africa.
Semi-finalists Uruguay were big gainers, up 10 places to sixth, while 1998 champions France capped a pitiful performance by slipping 12 to 21st.
Ageing Italy, the 2006 World Cup winners, dropped six slots.
Germany and Argentina both moved up two places to fourth and fifth respectively.
New Zealand were the biggest movers up the rankings, rising 24 places to 54th after going unbeaten in their three group matches at the World Cup.
World Cup hosts South Africa rose 17 places to 66th.comments