World champions Spain top FIFA women's rankings

LONDON: Women's World Cup winners Spain have moved to the top of the FIFA ranking for the first time, displacing Sweden from the number one spot, world soccer's governing body said yesterday.

The world champions are only the fourth team to reach the summit of the rankings after the United States, Germany and Sweden.

Spain beat England in the World Cup final in August, moving up four spots to second. But they have finally clinched top spot following a string of impressive performances in the UEFA Women's Nations League.

Spain topped their group with five wins -- including a double over Sweden -- to qualify for the Nations League Finals which will take place in February, when they will face the Netherlands in the semis.

The US moved up to second in the rankings and are followed by France in third spot. France also qualified for the Nations League Finals where they will face Germany in the other semi-final.

European champions England, who missed out on a Paris Olympics berth, are fourth while Sweden have dropped to fifth after they finished third in their Nations League group with just two wins in six games.

The number of teams in the women's rankings also grew to a record 192 nations with the introduction of Central African Republic and Macau while North Korea (ninth), American Samoa, Madagascar and Bahamas reappear on the list. --REUTERS

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