Not a lot of surprises in today's newest FIFA World Ranking: There was no movement in the Top 9, the United States stayed put at No. 18 and Japan, winner of the Asian Cup moved up 12 spots to No. 17. Mexico, the next highest CONCACAF team after the United States, remains ranked 27th.
The only team to fall out of the Top 10 was Egypt, which tumbled 23 spots to No. 33 despite winning all three of its January friendlies. Many of the African teams, in fact, took a rankings hit. The FIFA website explained the fall this way:
Due to the significant devaluation of the points won a year ago at the CAF Africa Cup of Nations, many teams have slid down the rankings this month. African champions Egypt (33rd, down 23), Nigeria (40th, down 8) and Algeria (55th, down 19) have lost the most ground, but several others have also taken a tumble.
Japan's rankings rise was largely expected. In winning the AFC Asian Cup, they beat Korea (ranked 33rd) and Australia (No. 21). This marks the first time in five years that Japan has cracked the world's Top 20. They have now qualified for the 2013 Confederations Cup, along with hosts Brazil and World Champion Spain.