World Cup - England drop to 17th in world, Belgium reach new heights

Roy Hodgson's England have dropped three places to 17th in the latest FIFA world rankings.

World Cup - England drop to 17th in world, Belgium reach new heights

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Roy Hodgson England

It is their lowest position since 2001 when they also occupied 17th place following a dismal run under Kevin Keegan that ended with the subsequent improvement under Sven-Goran Eriksson.

In August last year they climbed to an all-time high of third, although this exposed the rankings system to ridicule given their indifferent performance at the 2012 European Championships.

Elsewhere, Belgium reached a best-ever sixth place in the FIFA rankings on Thursday while Japan, Asia's highest-placed team, dropped five positions to a modest 42nd.

The standings continued to make embarrassing reading for the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) with Iran (48) their only other team in the top 50.

Belgium have dropped only two points in eight games in their World Cup qualifying competition and continued their run with a 2-0 win in Scotland on Friday.

South American champions Uruguay leapt into the top 10 with two crucial World Cup qualifying wins, 2-1 away to Peru and 2-0 at home to Colombia.

They are among four South American teams in the top 10 alongside second-placed Argentina, Colombia (5th) and 2014 World Cup hosts Brazil, who climbed one place to eighth.

World and European champions Spain remained top and Germany dropped one point to third despite 3-0 wins over Austria and Faroe Islands in the last week.

1. (1) Spain

2. (4) Argentina

3. (2) Germany

4. (6) Italy

5. (3) Colombia

6. (10) Belgium

7. (12) Uruguay

8. (9) Brazil

9. (5) Netherlands

10. (8) Croatia

Selected others

17. (14) England

52. (46) Wales

59. (44) Republic of Ireland

63. (50) Scotland

86. (109) Northern Ireland

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