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Soccer-Nigeria leap up rankings after Nations Cup win

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

ZURICH, Feb 14 (Reuters) - Nigeria leapt 22 places up the FIFA rankings on Thursday following their win at the African Nations Cup, but the continent remained without a team in the top ten.

The Super Eagles, who edged Burkina Faso 1-0 in Sunday's final in South Africa to win the competition for the first time in 19 years, rose to 30th place in the table, their best position for three years.

Their opponents, who exceeded expectations by reaching the final, stayed outside the top 50 but have jumped 37 places to 55th.

Ivory Coast, beaten by Nigeria in the quarter-finals, remained Africa's highest-ranked side in 12th, followed by Ghana seven places below.

Surprise package Cape Verde, who reached the quarter-finals on their debut, moved up 13 places to 63rd.

CONCACAF's highest-ranked team were Mexico in 15th while the best Asia could muster was Japan, who are 28th.

Five-times World Cup winners and 2014 World Cup hosts Brazil remained in 18th spot, their lowest-ever ranking, after losing 2-1 to England in Luiz Felipe Scolari's first game back as coach last week.

The win took England up two places to fourth.

South America showed their strength-in-depth as Venezuela climbed 10 places to 45th, leaving all of the continent's 10 teams in the top 50.

There was no change in the top three where world and European champions Spain lead, followed by Germany and Argentina.

The Turks and Caicos Islands, Bhutan and San Marino were tied in 207th and last place.

1. (1) Spain

2. (2) Germany

3. (3) Argentina

4. (6) England

5. (4) Italy

6. (5) Colombia

6. (7) Portugal

8. (8) Netherlands

9. (10) Croatia 10. (9) Russia (Writing by Brian Homewood in Schladming, Austria; Editing by Toby Davis)

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/thomson-reuters/130214/soccer-nigeria-leap-rankings-after-nations-cup-win