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  • Wednesday, July 5, 2000

    Canada climbs up world soccer rankings to No. 55

    By NEIL DAVIDSON -- Canadian Press

      Canada continued its rise in the world soccer rankings Wednesday, moving four spots to No. 55 and joining the Dutch and Australia as the biggest movers in 2000, according to the world governing body of soccer.

      Under Canadian coach Holger Osieck, the Gold Cup champions have jumped 26 places in 2000. And the team has moved up 33 spots since the German native took over in September 1998.

      The latest rankings represent Canada's best showing since August 1997 when the team was ranked 48th. Canada's highest ranking was No. 40 in December 1996.

      "Taking the index value, which reflects the teams' absolute strengths, into account, the Netherlands, followed by Canada and Australia, are the biggest movers of the year 2000 so far," FIFA said Wednesday.

      Brazil held on to top spot in the FIFA rankings, but France is breathing down the South Americans' neck after its victory in Euro 2000. Brazil, which led by 70 points when the European championship started, now has 825 points to 808 for the French.

      The Brazilians have held down No. 1 in the rankings since July 1994.

      Italy, Portugal and the Dutch benefited from their showing at Euro 2000, placing sixth, seventh and eighth respectively in the rankings. Italy and Portugal both jumped eight places while the Netherlands moved up 13 spots.

      The top 10 consists of Brazil, France, Czech Republic, Spain and Argentina in a tie, Italy, Portugal, the Netherlands, Germany and Norway.

      Germany and Norway both dropped three places after disappointing showings at Euro 2000.

      Canada now stands fifth among the 35 CONCACAF countries in North and Central America and the Caribbean. Mexico leads but slips five places to No. 13. The U.S., down one, is 20th while Trinidad and Tobago falls three spots to No. 37.

      Honduras, which thumped Haiti 7-1 on aggregate in its World Cup qualifying playoff, moves past Canada as it vaults 11 places to No. 51.

      Other movers in the month were Japan (No. 46, up 11) and Oceania champion Australia (No. 63, up 29).

      England fell three spots to No. 15 while Scotland remained unchanged at No. 21.



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