PARIS - Brazil have slumped to their lowest ever position in world football, according to FIFA's latest world rankings published on Thursday.

The 2014 World Cup hosts -- automatic qualifiers for the tournament -- dropped one place to 19th in the list, which also saw Croatia jump five places and break into the top five. The top three were unchanged with world champions Spain at number one followed by Germany and Brazil's arch South American foes, Argentina.

Croatia, who owe their sharp climb to fourth largely to their recent 2-0 "derby" win over Serbia, sit above Portugal (+2), Colombia, England, Italy (-3), Holland (-1) and Ecuador (+1), who complete the top 10. Brazil, who are on a diet of friendlies ahead of their staging of next year's World Cup, registered a brace of draws in March -- 1-1 against Russia and 2-2 with Italy -- before seeing off Bolivia 4-0.

The South Americans -- five-time winners of football's biggest prize -- have dropped in the rankings because FIFA's list awards more points for qualifying matches than friendlies. England dropped three places to seventh following their 1-1 World Cup qualifying draw in Montenegro, which came after an 8-0 victory against minnows San Marino.

Wales leapt an astonishing 22 places from 71st to 49th, with their 2-1 win in Scotland followed by a 2-1 defeat in Croatia. Ivory Coast are the highest-ranked African team, moving up a place to 12th.


1    Spain

2    Germany

3    Argentina

4    Croatia

5    Portugal

6    Colombia

7    England

8    Italy

9    Holland

10    Ecuador

11    Russia

12    Ivory Coast

13    Greece

14    Mexico

15    Switzerland

16    Belgium

17    Uruguay

18    France

19    Brazil

20    Denmark