Solid start rewarded as England rise to fourth in Fifa rankings

Click to follow
The Independent Football

Steve McClaren's successful start as England manager has been confirmed by the side equalling their all-time high fourth place in the latest Fifa rankings released wednesday.

Successive post-World Cup victories over Greece, Andorra and Macedonia have helped McClaren's men leapfrog Italy - whose poor form since winning the World Cup sees them slip to fifth. England were last ranked fourth under Glenn Hoddle in December 1997.

Scotland's promising start to their Euro 2008 qualifying campaign means a jump of six places to 34th, while Northern Ireland leap 14 places to 58th after their famous win over Spain.

The heroics of Lawrie Sanchez's men mean they overtake Wales, who slip six places to 62nd. And Steve Staunton's Republic of Ireland are down five to share 43rd place with Iran.

Elsewhere, Ferenc Puskas has been admitted to an intensive care unit in Budapest. The 79-year-old, who found fame with Hungary and Real Madrid, suffers from Alzheimer's disease and was reported to have been moved from his room at the Budapest hospital in which he is a long-term patient.

Puskas scored 83 goals in 84 matches for his country and helped them reach the 1954 World Cup final, where West Germany caused an upset by defeating the "Magnificent Magyars". He helped Real Madrid win three European Cup titles in the 1960s, striking up a fearsome strike partnership with Alfredo di Stefano.

FIFA RANKINGS (last month's position in brackets): 1 Brazil (1) 1574 points; 2 France (4) 1534; 3 Argentina (3) 1492; 4 England (5), 1477; 5 Italy (2) 1474; 6 Netherlands (6) 1327; 7 Czech Republic (10) 1312; 8 Germany (9) 1291; 9 Portugal (8) 1272; 10 Spain (7) 1255; 11 Nigeria (11) 1166; 12 Cameroon (12) 1062; 13 Ukraine (15) 1029; 14 Switzerland (13) 1016; 15 Uruguay (14) 960; 16 Denmark (17) 940; 17 Mexico (16) 891; 18 Sweden (20) 888; 19 Ivory Coast (18) 879; 20 Colombia (29) 867; 21 Paraguay (19) 854; 22 Greece (32) 833; 23 Ghana (25) 830; 24 Croatia (21) 825; 25 Romania (26) 817. Selected: 34 Scotland (40) 746; 43 Rep of Ireland (38) 658; 58 N Ireland (72) 486; 62 Wales (56) 479.

Comments