England have climbed to fourth in FIFA's latest world rankings - equalling their highest placing - despite their poor run of form in recent competitive matches.
Fabio Capello's team have moved above Brazil and Argentina in the rankings, updated today, despite only reaching the last 16 in last summer's World Cup, and failing to win two of their last three qualifying matches for next summer's European Championships.
The last time England were as high as fourth was in 1997, when they moved up as a result of a decent performance as hosts of the European Championships.
Unsurprisingly, Spain continue to top the charts, with their haul of 1,871 points putting them 210 clear of the team they beat in the World Cup final, Netherlands. Germany (1,417) have moved up a place to third.
England's points total of 1,146 puts them 16 ahead of fifth-placed Brazil, with Italy (1,059), Portugal (1,046) and Croatia (1,033) next in the list. Mexico have moved up 19 places to claim a place in the top 10, 28 points ahead of Argentina (979) - who complete the top 10.
The Republic of Ireland have won their last two Euro 2012 qualifiers and that form has helped Giovanni Trapattoni's team climb three places to 31 in the standings, with 752 points.
Scotland and Northern Ireland are also on the up. The Scots are now 61st with 513 points as a result of a five-place leap, with Nigel Worthington's side - one of the countries they moved above - 15 points and one place behind them in 62nd.
However, Wales' failure to pick up a single point in their four Euro 2012 qualifiers to date means they remain 114th in the rankings, level with the Faroe Islands as a result of the latter's 22-place climb.
England's rise is due to the fact that the matches of the World Cup in South Africa last year now count 50% less towards the overall ranking.
Teams that had a strong World Cup but have not had such good results since, such as Uruguay, have experienced a big drop in ranking. Those that did not do so well but have had decent results since then - such as England, Italy and France - have seen a boost in ranking.
The FIFA rankings are calculated based on four years of results: :: Games between 22 Aug 2007 - 1 June 2008 have a value of 20%.
:: Games between 20 Aug 2008 - 10 June 2009 have a value of 30%.
:: Games between 12 Aug 2009 and 27 June 2010 have a value of 50%. :: Games between 11 Aug 2010 and 4 June 2011 have a value of 100%.Reuse content