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US Returns To FIFA Top 20 After 2-Year Absence

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CHICAGO, IL - JULY 28:  Members of the United States celebrate a win over Panama during the CONCACAF Gold Cup final match at Soldier Field on July 28, 2013 in Chicago, Illinois. The United States defeated Panama 1-0.  (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Members of the United States celebrate a win over Panama during the CONCACAF Gold Cup final match. The United States defeated Panama 1-0. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

ZURICH (AP) – The United States has broken into the top 20 of the FIFA rankings for the first time in more than two years after winning last month’s Gold Cup.

The U.S. rose three places in the rankings released Thursday to No. 19, the same spot it reached in March 2011. The Americans replace No. 20 Mexico as CONCACAF’s highest placed team for the first time since 2011.

With European teams inactive last month, Spain leads an unchanged top 10. Germany is second and Colombia is No. 3.

Confederations Cup winner Brazil remains at No. 9. As host nation for next year’s World Cup, Brazil does not play qualifying matches that earn ranking points.

Ivory Coast is still Africa’s highest-ranked team, though it drops five places to No. 18.

Japan leads Asia at No. 37.

Panama, which beat Mexico in a Gold Cup semifinal, jumps 11 spots to No. 40.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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