ZURICH: World Cup winners France top the FIFA rankings for the first time in 16 years.

France beat Croatia 4-2 last month for their second World Cup title, and jumped up six places to reclaim the No. 1 spot they last held in May 2002.

Belgium, who lost to France in the semi-finals, move up one place to second on the list published Thursday by football’s governing body.

Brazil, beaten by Belgium in the quarter-finals, fell one to third. Croatia climbed 16 places to fourth to equal their best ranking from five years ago.

World Cup quarter-finalists Uruguay jumped nine spots to fifth and semi-finalists England moved to sixth from 12th.

Hosts Russia kicked off the tournament as the lowest-ranked of the 32 teams. But an unexpected run to the quarter-finals, where they lost to Croatia on penalties, pushed it up 21 places to 49th.

Defending champions Germany’s surprise elimination from the group stage dropped them from first to 15th.

Published in Dawn, August 17th, 2018