By RON FANFAIR
An eight-game unbeaten streak and a spot in Round Three of the 2014 World Cup soccer qualifying competition paved the way for Canada to move up 11 spots to 72nd in the world in the latest International Soccer Federation (FIFA) ranking.
Canada drew nil-all with St. Kitts & Nevis on the road, and shut out the twin-island federation 4-0 in the return match four days later at BMO Field to finish on top of its group in the last round of regional qualifiers.
The national side is ranked eighth in the Confederation of North, Central American & Caribbean Associations of Soccer (CONCACAF) behind Mexico (which is ranked 20th in the world), the United States, Jamaica, Panama, Honduras, Costa Rica and El Salvador.
Antigua & Barbuda, which surprised Haiti to advance to the next round of World Cup qualifiers, jumped seven places to 83 while Trinidad & Tobago, which competed in the 2006 World Cup in Germany, was knocked out of the CONCACAF Top 10 after being eliminated from the World Cup qualifying campaign.
Ivory Coast, meanwhile, is the top African side with a 16th place world ranking. The Ivoirians join Ghana, Angola, Egypt, Nigeria, Senegal, Cameroon, South Africa, Cape Verde and Tunisia as the continent’s top 10 sides.
World and European champions, Spain, lead the global ranking ahead of The Netherlands and Germany.
The FIFA/Coca-Cola world ranking takes into account the result, importance of the match, the strength of the opponent, the regional strength, the time period and the number of matches each team plays annually.