Australia Rise To Top 50 In Latest Fifa Rankings

Australia’s World Cup qualifying play-off victory over Uruguay has seen it rise five places and into the top 50 in the FIFA World Rankings released overnight.

Australia-s World Cup qualifying play-off victory over Uruguay has seen it rise five places and into the top 50 in the FIFA World Rankings released overnight.

The 16 points earned from the two games, moved Australia to No.49 in the world and saw them overtake fellow 2006 World Cup finalists Ghana (50), Trinidad & Tobago (51) and Togo (56).

With Uruguay ranked 17 in the world prior to the two play-off games, not many gave Australia a chance of winning, but after a narrow 1-0 loss in Montevideo, the Socceroos won the return game 1-0 in Sydney and then subsequently won the penalty shootout.

World Cup matches have higher qualifying points attached to their games and coupled with beating a team ranked way higher than itself, Australia-s number of points earned was much higher than normal. Uruguay dropped a place to 18.

The biggest jumps in the world rankings came from Bulgaria and Cote d-Ivoire, who both jumped seven places to 39 and 41 respectively. Bulgaria beat top 10 nation Mexico in a friendly international played in the USA, as well as putting six goals past Georgia three days earlier.

Cote d-Ivoire, who will also be at the 2006 World Cup finals, played two friendly games in Europe, drawing with Italy and also beating Romania.

Brazil still heads the FIFA World Rankings with a commanding 45 points lead over new No.2 ranked Czech Republic, who jumped one place after winning its World Cup play-off matches against Norway. Spain was the biggest mover in the top 10, jumping over both Mexico and the USA to be No.6, after winning its World Cup qualifying play-off against Slovakia.

There will be very few international matches played over the next few months, with Australia not playing again until February and March, where it will play its first official matches with the Asian Confederation in the qualifiers for the Asian Cup. The draw for the Asian Cup is on January 4, 2006. 

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