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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Solomon Islands Soccer FIFA ranking reaches record high despite Samoa SPG embarassment

The Solomon Islands men's soccer side has taken a major leap of about 40 spots in the latest FIFA/Coca-Cola world ranking released last week to sit on a record position of 121 in the world, greatly surpassing OFC neighbours New Zealand, despite an embarrassing show at the recent Samoa SPG.

In July 2007, Solomon Islands was sitting on 168th position while in August it moved up 7 spots to 161. However, the latest world ranking at 121 is understood to be one of the best for the country in history despite not being able to get confirmation on this from the Solomon Islands Football Federation (SIFF).

The highest OFC leaper in the September 2007 FIFA rankings is the Carlos Buzzetti coached Fiji side who have jumped a significant 151 spots to move from 170th position in August to 119th position in the latest ranking, just two spots ahead of Solomon Islands.

Samoa SPG gold medalist New Caledonia also leaped 44 spots and is now at 124th position lagging three positions behind Solomon Islands whilst Vanuatu is at 133rd position after a leap of 34 spots. Even minnows Samoa leaped 44 spots to sit at 147th position surpassing strong OFC neighbour New Zealand who are at 156th position after dropping 7 spots. Papua New Guinea is the only Melanesia country that sits at 182nd position after a drop of 2 spots.

According to the Oceania Football Federation website, the ranking fluctuates according to the competition and tournaments held and since the Pacific Games was a world cup qualifying event, this was taken into consideration as well.

It is understood most of the OFC nations are ahead of New Zealand because the Kiwis are yet to start their World Cup Qualifying campaign.

Meanwhile, a 2-1 victory over Ukraine in the race to qualify for EURO 2008 sees World Cup holders Italy (1st, up 2) climb ahead of Argentina (2nd, unchanged) and Brazil (3rd, down 2) in the latest FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking.

The next FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking will be published on 24 October 2007.

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