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Belgium breaks into top 4 of FIFA rankings for first time; Spain slips two places to 10th


ZURICH — Belgium has moved into the top four of the FIFA monthly rankings for the first time and former World Cup winner Spain has dropped to 10th following a loss to Slovakia in a European Championship qualifier.

The top three positions remained the same on Thursday. Despite a tough start to its Euro 2016 qualifying campaign, World Cup winner Germany was first ahead of runner-up Argentina, then Colombia.

Two-time defending European champion Spain slipped two places.

Belgium's rise coincided with the Netherlands going from fourth to fifth after losing Euro 2016 qualifiers to the Czech Republic and Iceland.

Brazil kept sixth place and France rose two places to seventh, but it was unlikely to stay there for long because it does not have any competitive matches between now and Euro 2016, which it will host.

Portugal gained two places to move into ninth spot, putting Cristiano Ronaldo's team back in the top 10 for the first time since July.

Italy was 11th and Switzerland, which has lost qualifiers to England and Slovenia, fell two places to 12th.

Algeria, which gave Germany a tough match in the second round of the World Cup, was the highest placed African team, rising five places to 15th.

England dropped from 18th to 20th, and the United States fell six places to 23rd.

Slovakia made a huge gain of 16 spots from to 24th after winning its first three Euro 2016 qualifiers, Austria improved by 10 places to 29th, and former England coach Fabio Capello's Russia slid seven places to 30th.

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