Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Agony for Asian trio

Not all of the FIFA World Cup participants fared so well, however, and for every rapid rise, there was a drop every bit as dramatic. Saudi Arabia, for example, plummeted fully 47 places to rest in 81st position in the wake of a disappointing campaign, and their Asian rivals had similarly sad tales to recount. Take Japan, who began the tournament in 18th position and now languish in 49th, or Iran - down 24 to 47th - or even 2002 semi-finalists Korea Republic, who dropped out of the top 50 altogether after slumping 27 places to 56th.

Finally, and while the FIFA World Cup might understandably have dominated our attentions, we should also recognise the remarkable progress registered by a few non-participants, most notably Equatorial Guinea, who climbed 59 places into 95th position, Canada, who moved to within four places of the top 50 with a 29-place jump, and Guinea, who are now one spot ahead of Ghana, having leaped from 51st to 24th position in this much-changed ranking table.

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