Netherlands overtake Spain to top Fifa world rankings

Iker Casillas lifts the World Cup for Spain

The Netherlands have replaced Spain at the top of Fifa's world rankings, with England climbing two places to fourth.

The world and European Champions have dropped to second after losing ranking points in a friendly defeat by Italy.

England, despite having their friendly against the Dutch postponed, have risen because of Brazil's loss to Germany.

Republic of Ireland went up two places to 31st, Scotland leapt six places to 55th, Northern Ireland rose three places to 59th but Wales fell to 117th.

In topping the rankings for the first time, the Netherlands become only the seventh nation to hold top spot - Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany and Italy are the others.

Spain had held top spot since July 2010 following their World Cup final victory over the Netherlands in South Africa.

Germany lie third, while Uruguay are South America's top-rated nation in fifth after winning the Copa America in Argentina, with Brazil sixth.

Italy, Portugal, Argentina and Croatia complete the top 10.

Wales, who have fallen behind Haiti and North Korea, occupy their worst position since the rankings were introduced in 1993.

Fifa ranking points are accumulated according to results, the importance of the matches played and the strength of the opposing teams.

Giovanni Van Bronckhorst and Wesley Sneijder

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