No. 1 Spain is soccer Team of the Year
NYON, Switzerland, Dec. 16 (UPI) -- Spain finished 2009 at the top of the FIFA world men's soccer rankings, taking the Team of the Year title.
Spain was ranked No. 1 in eight of the 12 months of 2009, slipping to second from July-October when Brazil regained the top spot. Brazil ends the year ranked No. 2 and the Netherlands is third, a position it held for 11 of the 12 monthly rankings.
There were few matches affecting the FIFA rankings over the last month as teams wrapped up World Cup qualifying before the November rankings were released. As a result there were no changes among the Top 10 rankings.
Italy is fourth followed by Portugal. Germany is rated No. 6, ahead of seventh-ranked France and No. 8 Argentina while England and Croatia complete the Top 10.
FIFA said Brazil, which wound up fifth in 2008, was one of the year's big movers in terms of ratings points, gaining 322 on the year. Also of note was Algeria's move from 64th to 26th on the strength of play that earned the Algerians a World Cup berth.
The FIFA world rankings are determined by points received from match results over a three-year period, with more recent matches given greater weight. Teams also get more points for playing relatively strong opponents.