Zambia soars after African Cup win

Updated: February 15, 2012, 3:09 PM ET
Associated Press

ZURICH -- Zambia has soared in the FIFA rankings after winning the African Cup of Nations, and Germany climbed to second behind World Cup winner and European champion Spain.

The United States rose two spots to No. 31 in the latest rankings released Wednesday after winning exhibitions against Panama and Venezuela. Mexico leads the North and Central American and Caribbean region, unchanged at No. 21.

Zambia rose 28 places to No. 43, becoming the continent's fourth-ranked nation after starting the African Cup in 16th place.

Ivory Coast, which lost Sunday's final in a penalty shootout, is the highest-ranked African nation at No. 15.

Germany moved up one place to reach its highest ranking since May 2009. The Netherlands dropped to third, largely for losing ranking points in a 3-0 victory over Croatia in February 2008. South American champion Uruguay is fourth, followed by England. Portugal moved up to No. 6, dropping Brazil to seventh, and No. 8 Italy and ninth-ranked Croatia also traded places.

Argentina dropped out of the top 10 for the first time since 2004, falling to 11 as Denmark moved up to No. 10.

Libya reached its highest position since FIFA created the rankings in 1993. It rose 10 spots to No. 53. But Egypt plummeted 25 places to No. 61 in the rankings, which weigh results over a rolling four-year period. The three-time defending African champions failed to qualify for the this year's tournament.

Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press