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SUPER EAGLES DROP THREE STEPS IN FIFA RANKING

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While several of the biggest names in international football have made significant gains in the latest edition of the FIFA World Ranking, Nigeria’s Super Eagles went three steps down the rung to 45 from the 42 obtained in the last ranking in April.

The three-time African champions are still number three in Africa behind Senegal and Tunisia. Globally, Belgium remains at the first position, continuing their reign at the top by increasing their advantage over France in the second position.

Their grip at the top position follows UEFA EURO qualifying wins over Kazakhstan and Scotland. There is plenty of movement elsewhere in the top 20. Portugal (5th, up 2), for example, have moved into the top five on the back of their UEFA Nations League triumph, while the Netherlands (14th, up 2) have edged upwards after reaching the final of the same competition.

A trio of former world champions are also on the rise. Spain (7th, up 2), Germany (11th, up 2) and Italy (14th, up 3) have all ascended the global ladder on the back of positive results in the EURO qualifiers.

There are plenty of success stories elsewhere, too, with the likes of Austria (26th, up 8), Northern Ireland (28th, up 5), Czech Republic (41st, up 7), Hungary (42nd, up 9), Armenia (97th, up 9) and Malaysia (159th, up 9) racing up the ranking. There is also reason to celebrate for Senegal (22nd, up 1) and Kosovo (121st, up 6), both of whom are currently in their highest position to date.

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Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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