World champions Germany pushed Brazil back into second place to return to the top of the FIFA rankings, which was published on Thursday.
Germany’s 2-1 win away to the Czech Republic and their 6-0 thrashing of Norway in the World Cup qualifiers lifted them over the already-qualified Brazil, who dropped points in a draw away to Colombia.
European champions Portugal climbed three places to third, even though they are second in their World Cup qualifying group behind Switzerland.
In another surprise, Argentina are fourth in the rankings despite struggling to qualify for the World Cup after drawing their last two games , away to Uruguay and at home to Venezuela.
War-torn Syria, who have reached the Asian playoff stage in the World Cup qualifiers despite playing their ‘home’ World Cup qualifiers in Malaysia because of the security situation in the country, rose to their highest-ever ranking of 75.
Three other teams reached their best-ever place – Peru (12th), Northern Ireland (20th) and Luxemburg (101st) after they held France to a 0-0 draw away.
The rankings made disappointing reading for Asia with only three sides in the top 50 – Iran, Japan and Australia.
The next FIFA rankings will be announced on Oct. 16 and used to determine the seedings in the draw for the four European playoff ties for next year’s World Cup finals in Russia.
Top 10 rankings: