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American Samoa climbs in world soccer rankings

Spain leads world rankings for 4th straight year

ZURICH (AP) -- Spain was again named Team of the Year by FIFA on Wednesday after finishing at the top of the world rankings for the fourth straight year.

The world and European champions led the monthly rankings released Wednesday and have now been top for all but eight months since winning the European Championship in 2008.

There was no movement among the leading 19 teams after a month in which only six competitive internationals were played, all involving lower-ranked teams.

The Netherlands remained second, ahead of Germany, Uruguay and England. Brazil, Portugal, Croatia, Italy and Argentina round out the top 10.

Bosnia-Herzegovina moved up three places to an all-time high of 20, while Panama (49), Estonia (57) and American Samoa (186) also hit best-ever positions. American Samoa's 18-place climb was down to the tiny Pacific state's first World Cup qualifying win.

Wales was the highest climber of 2011, gaining 64 places to No. 48 by the end of the year. The U.S. remained unchanged at No. 34.

Ivory Coast remained Africa's top team at No. 16, with Mexico ranked highest of the CONCACAF sides at No. 21. Japan at No. 19 took the honors for Asia, with New Zealand at No. 119 the best of Oceania's teams.



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