England officially the fourth best team in the world according to Fifa rankings

 

Fans of the Three Lions have widely come to accept that England are a quarter-final team, at best.

Yet according to Fifa, Roy Hodgson's side are better than the likes of Italy, Portugal, Argentina, Netherlands and Brazil.

Many will be surprised at the latest Fifa world rankings, which were published today, which see England rise two places into fourth, especially considering they were knocked out at the last-eight stage of Euro 2012, and have not made a semi-final appearance at a major international tournament since 1996.

Among the teams behind England in the rankings are Italy, who knocked Steven Gerrard and co out of Euro 2012 on penalties, and Portugal, who narrowly missed out on a place in the final.

Perhaps even more shocking is that Brazil have slipped outside the top ten ranked teams. Following friendly defeats to Mexico and Argentina last month, they are now ranked 11th, their lowest position since rankings began in 1992.

The Fifa rankings have regularly come in for criticism for their complexity and the skewed results they produce. They are based on all Fifa-recognised full international matches, which includes friendlies, over the last four years. More recent results, the significance of matches, the strength of opposition and the regional strength of sides all affect the weight given to each game, which explains why Netherlands - who lost all three of their matches at Euro 2012 - have slipped from fourth to eighth.

Following victory at Euro 2012, Spain remain the top ranked side in the world. Germany move up to second while Uruguay are the top ranked South American team in third.

 

Fifa world rankings:

1. (1) Spain

2. (3) Germany

3. (2) Uruguay

4. (6) England

5. (10) Portugal

6. (12) Italy

7. (7) Argentina

8. (4) Netherlands

9. (8) Croatia

10. (9) Denmark

Selected others...

11. Brazil

14. France

16. Ivory Coast

26. Republic of Ireland

38. Wales

49. Scotland

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