- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 7, 2012

ZURICH (AP) - World and European champion Spain remained at the top of FIFA’s monthly world rankings on Wednesday, and the United States rose four places to No. 27 with a win over Italy for its highest place since June.

The Netherlands beat England 3-2 in an exhibition last week and retook the No. 2 spot from Germany, which lost 2-1 to France.

Uruguay is at No. 4, followed by 2014 World Cup host Brazil, which rose two places after beating Bosnia-Herzegovina 2-1.

England and Portugal, which drew 0-0 with Poland, each fell one place to sixth and seventh, respectively.

Argentina climbed three places to No. 8, and Italy and Croatia completed the top 10.

Ivory Coast is the highest-ranked African team at No. 15. African Cup of Nations champion Zambia rose two more places to No. 41.

Australia, at No. 20, heads Asian confederation nations and is top seed in a 10-nation draw for the final round of World Cup qualifying on Friday.

The United States was rewarded for beating Italy 1-0, while Mexico still leads CONCACAF nations at No. 22. The Americans haven’t been ranked this high since they were 24th in June.

South Korea is now second among Asian nations at No. 30. Japan dropped to No. 33 after losing 1-0 to Uzbekistan in a World Cup qualifier.

Uzbekistan rose 10 to No. 67, and Qatar climbed eight to No. 88. The 2022 World Cup host drew 2-2 in Iran as both countries advanced to the final group stage.

Lebanon, at No. 124, is lowest ranked of 10 countries still competing for Asia’s four guaranteed places in the 32-nation 2014 lineup.

New Zealand, at No. 119, leads the Oceania confederation.

The rankings weigh all international results over a rolling four-year period, and this month counted 91 matches including qualifiers for the World Cup and 2013 Cup of Nations, plus exhibition games.

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