Every month the official Fifa ranking is released by world soccer’s governing body and below is a list of the best soccer teams according to the latest international standings.
Vicente del Bosque‘s side are European and World champions, playing a unique brand of soccer based on intricate midfield passing movements. A relatively lightweight midfield plays arguably the most attractive soccer in the world, with Barcelona midfielder Xavidictating the tempo. Three trophies in four years has proved that brains can triumph over brawn.
Finalists at Euro 2008, third place finishers at the 2010 World Cup and semi-finalists at Euro 2012, Germany have generally saved their best for major tournaments over the years. Joachim Low’s side play a free flowing brand of soccer that thrilled in the last two tournaments.
Carlos Queiroz was sacked by Portugal in September 2010 after a poor start to the Euro 2012 qualifying campaign and amid allegations of misconduct. He took his country to the second round of the 2010 World Cup where they were beaten by Spain. His replacement was former Sporting Lisbon coach Paulo Bento. Portugal’s pedigree in major tournaments over the last decade is good. They reached the semi-finals of Euro 2000 and made it to the final of the same tournament on home turf four years later. A fourth-place finish at the 2006 World Cup was also a significant achievement as was a semi-final finish at Euro 2012.
Argentina’s long wait for a major trophy continues after they were knocked out in the World Cup quarter-finals by Germany and flopped at the Copa America. Current coach Alejandro Sabella was installed as coach in August 2011 and promptly made Lionel Messi is captain.
Qualified comfortably for the World Cup but disappointed in South Africa as they lost in the second round to Germany. Fabio Capello left the job after achieving qualification for Euro 2012 because of a disagreement over the handling of the John Terry race row. His successor Roy Hodgson led the Three Lions to the quarter finals of Euro 2012.
The Netherlands reached the World Cup final where they were defeated by Spain. But a poor display at Euro 2012 where they lost all three matches and bowed out in the group stage resulted in Bert van Marwijk leaving his post.
Uruguay’s 2011 Copa America win shot them back up into the top 10. This is a glorious period for Uruguayan soccer, with the national teamalso having reached the 2010 World Cup semi-finals. Coach Oscar Tabarez says he is building for the future, but what he is currently delivering on the field has exceeded all expectations.
After a disastrous World Cup under Marcello Lippi, Cesare Prandelli steadied the ship and guided Italy to the final of Euro 2012 where they were beaten 4-0 by Spain. Prandelli undertook a significant squad overhaul and made several tactical changes resulting in an attacking side which aims to take the game to its opponents.
After failing to qualify for the 2010 World Cup, Croatia made sure of their place at Euro 2012 with a comfortable aggregate victory over Turkey in November’s play-offs. Slaven Bilic could not guide Croatia out of their group at Euro 2012 and left for pastures new after the tournament.
Denmark have qualified automatically for the last two major tournaments under Morten Olsen. That he has been in charge since 2000 is another reminder that continuity is key to a successful national team. Denmark could not repeat their 1992 European Championship success at Euro 2012 but will reside in and around the top 10 as long as they continue qualifying for the major tournaments.