Soccer

Italy returns to No. 1 in FIFA rankings; Canada climbs 9 spots

World Cup champion Italy reclaimed the top spot in the world soccer rankings released by FIFA on Wednesday.

World Cup champion Italy reclaimed the top spot in the world soccer rankings released by FIFA on Wednesday.

Canada also moved up, climbing nine places in the monthly rankings put out by FIFA, soccer's world governing body.

Italy topped the monthly FIFA world rankings in February, ending Brazil's 55-month stay in first place, but dropped to No. 2 in March as Argentina took over at No. 1

The Italians overtook the Argentines this month, however, on the strength of their 2-0 win over Scotland in a 2008 European Championship qualifier March 28. Argentina has not played since last month's rankings.

Argentina dropped to second spot this month, followed by Brazil, France and Germany.

Netherlands, Portugal, England, Spain and the Czech Republic rounded out the top 10.

Canada jumped from 103rd to 94th after posting a 3-0 win over Bermuda on March 25 in an exhibition game. The Canadian men are sandwiched between Libya (93) and Ethiopia (95).

Last month's ranking was the lowest ever for Canada. The previous Canadian low was No. 101 in December 1998. Canada reached an all-time high when it climbed to No. 40 in December 1996.

Mexico is the top team from CONCACAF, the soccer confederation that covers North and Central America and the Caribbean, in this month's ranking at the No. 18 position.

Canada stands 11th among CONCACAF countries, behind such powerhouses as Mexico (21) the U.S. (29) and Costa Rica (52).

Nine teams, including Guam, Belize and the U.S. Virgin Islands, were tied for last at No. 199.

The next FIFA rankings will be published May 16.

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