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Last Updated Friday April 28 2017 09:55 AM IST

FIFA rankings: India rise to 101, Brazil back on top

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FIFA rankings: India rise to 101 Indian football team during a practice session in Tehran on March 23, 2016. File photo: PTI

New Delhi: The Indian football team achieved its best-ever FIFA ranking in over two decades as it jumped to 101 in the latest list released on Thursday.

This is the team's best-ever ranking since May 1996 - it was ranked 101 then also.

Read also: Chelsea win, but Tottenham keep title race alive

India have jumped 31 places from its last rank of 132nd in the previous month.

Following a couple of wins in recent times, India are now ranked 11th in Asia.

The highest FIFA ranking achieved by India ever is 94, which was attained in February, 1996. India were ranked 99 in November 1993 and 100 in October, 1993, December, 1993 and April, 1996.

The last couple of years had been fruitful for India as they won 11 of their 13 matches, including an unofficial game against Bhutan, while scoring a total of 31 goals.

India recently posted a 1-0 victory over Myanmar in the AFC Asian Cup qualifiers -- their first-ever in Myanmar in over 64 years.

Before that India's first win in an away encounter in over a decade came when they beat Cambodia 3-2 in an International Friendly.

The 4-1 win at home for India last year against Puerto Rico was also commendable.

"It has been a difficult road. Bringing in new blood and creating competition for places in the team has been a process, and I'm pleased we are moving in the right direction," India coach Stephen Constantine said.

"It's been a total team effort. Unless Mr. Patel (AIFF President Praful Patel) and Mr. Das (AIFF General Secretary Kushal Das) allowed me to do the things and the manner I wanted it to be done, this won't have been possible ever. I also need to thank the support staff for their commitment to the team," he added.

The Indian team, governed by the All India Football Federation, were ranked 171 when Constantine took over as national coach for the second time in February, 2015. They had slipped further to 173 in March, 2015, in the FIFA ladder.

After that Constantine had his first game in charge against Nepal, which India won 2-0.

Speaking on the achievement, AIFF chief said: "This is a great achievement and a fruitful reward for the hard work displayed by the team and the support staff on a regular basis. We at AIFF look forward to support the team and the coach in their endeavors to ensure sustained growth of Indian football."

General secretary Das added: "The AIFF is committed to provide the best of exposure and facilities for the national team in the form of arranging international friendlies and preparatory camps. We are delighted to achieve this milestone and hope to display the same character in our coming matches."

India will next play Lebanon in an international friendly at home on June 7 before hosting Kyrgyz Republic on June 13 in their next AFC Asian Cup qualifier.

Brazil end long wait

Five-time world champions Brazil have returned to what they will consider their rightful place at the top of the FIFA rankings for the first time in seven years.

Brazil have enjoyed a impressive revival since Tite replaced Dunga as their national team coach last year, winning all nine matches they have played under his leadership including eight World Cup qualifiers.

They continued their run in March with a 4-1 win in Uruguay and 3-0 win over Paraguay to become the first side to book their place at next year's World Cup in Russia with four games to spare.

Brazil, who replaced arch-rivals Argentina at the top, previously led the rankings going into the 2010 World Cup where they were eliminated by the Netherlands in the quarterfinals.

Since then, they have suffered a string of embarrassments, with elimination by Paraguay at successive Copa America tournaments in 2011 and 2015 and their infamous 7-1 loss to Germany in the 2014 World Cup semifinal.

Argentina lost their place after last week's 2-0 defeat in Bolivia which has left them struggling to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

Four of the top five teams in the rankings announcement by FIFA on Thursday, are from South America. Chile are fourth, Colombia fifth and Germany sandwiched in between in third.

Egypt are Africa's best-placed team in 19th while Asia's top side are 28th-placed Iran.

(With inputs from PTI, Reuters)

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The opinions expressed here do not reflect those of Malayala Manorama. Legal action under the IT Act will be taken against those making derogatory and obscene statements.