ZURICH // The European champions Spain remiain top of the Fifa world rankings for a third consecutive month today, mainly due to last month's 3-0 international 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. Midfielder David Villa has withdrawn from the Spain squad for their World Cup qualifiers against Bosnia and Armenia with an ankle problem, the Spanish Football Federation's medical services say. A replacement has not been called up. He is the second player to have dropped out of Vicente del Bosque's side because of injury, after striker Fernando Torres pulled out after suffering a hamstring tear in Liverpool's Premier League draw with Aston Villa on Sunday. Barcelona's teenage forward Bojan Krkic was drafted in to replace the Liverpool frontman.
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 *Reuters