. Soccer âBrazil and Italy remain top two in latest FIFA rankingsâ Nov 22, 2006, 19:23 GMT Zurich, Switzerland - The FIFA/Coca-Cola rankings for the month of November were released on Wednesday, with Brazil holding a 28-point edge over second-place Italy. The defending World Cup champions pulled level with mighty Brazil after their draw against Turkey. However, the South American powerhouse picked up the 28- point difference with a win over Switzerland in a friendly at the end of the month. The rest of the top 10 saw minimal changes from last month. Argentina now owns the third spot in the rankings, swapping positions with France, who are currently fourth. England, Germany and the Netherlands remain five, six and seven respectively, while Portugal moved up one spot into eighth. Nigeria earned 103 points in the past month, moving up two spots into the ninth position. The Czech Republic dropped 63 points and now occupy the 10th position at the expense of Spain, who fell out of the top 10 and into 12th after losing 44 points. Croatia climbed four spots from last month to 15th after securing 66 points, but Russia made the most impressive move up the standings, improving 10 slots to 23rd, its highest position since early 2003, on the strength of a good run of play in EURO 2008 qualifying. Romania moved into the top 20 as it jumped four spots in the rankings with 42 points earned in the last month. Poland also enjoyed a good month, moving from 27 to the 22nd spot with 55 points earned. Uruguay suffered the biggest drop, moving down 12 spots to No. 29. Speaking of dropping, the United States continued to fall in the rankings despite earning five points. The Stars and Stripes currently sit in 31st, two points ahead of Tunisia, and 10 points back of Ecuador. Uzbekistan and Cuba are in the highest positions they have ever occupied since the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Rankings were introduced. Both countries moved up considerably based on success in continental qualifying matches. Uzbekistan moved up 14 spots and into 45th, while Cuba jumped 22 spots to take over the 46th position. Points are accumulated based on the results of a team's matches over the past four years, the importance of each match, the strength of the opponent, the strength of the region and the number of matches per year that each team plays. ***************** SouthAmerica: This is very interesting: Guess what a Chinese newspaper thought was important about the latest FIFA rankings? And they had to highlight it as if this information had a priority above everything else regarding the latest FIFA rankings. I never paid much attention to the USA soccer FIFA rankings, and I was surprised to see the USA ranked so high right before the latest world cup. But it seems to me that the USA soccer FIFA ranking is very important for the Chinese. When a Brazilian checks the FIFA rankings we like to check the rankings of our major competitors such as Italy, Argentina, Germany, France, and Uruguay. The rest of the rankings we check only as a curiosity. China View - CN Published: November 23, 2006 BEIJING, Nov. 23 (Xinhuanet) -- After going up, up, up, the U.S. men's soccer team is going down, down, down. All the way from a No. 5 ranking in the world prior to the World Cup in May to its current ranking of 31. It's the first time the American squad has not been in FIFA top 30 rankings in more than seven years. The last time the U.S. was not in the top 30 was June of 1999, when it was also No. 31. Brazil remained No. 1, while Nigeria moved up to ninth and Russia jumped 10 places for its highest position in more than three years. Brazil has 1,588 points, with World Cup champion Italy second with 1,560. Brazil has been ranked No. 1 since July of 2002. Italy's 1-1 draw with Turkey in a Nov. 15 friendly in Turkey would have been enough to pull even with Brazil in ranking points. But the Brazilians increased their lead at the top by beating Switzerland 2-1 in a friendly the same night. Argentina moved up to No. 3 with 1,551 points, swapping places with France (1,523). England, Germany and the Netherlands remain at Nos. 5, 6 and 7, with Nigeria moving up two places from 11th and the Czech Republic falling two places to 10th. Spain fell two places to 12th. Russia is at No. 23 â its highest position since early 2003. Source: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2006-11/23/content_5366400.htm .