DAVID SMITH - Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Following a formidable June schedule, the US climbed two spots to reach number 12 in the latest FIFA Rankings released on July 1st.
While the Stars & Stripes lost four of their seven games on the schedule, strong wins in the Confederations Cup against Egypt and the former number one team Spain were enough to provide the small bump, and further widen the margin above the rest of the CONCACAF teams.
Inclusion in the world's top dozen teams represents the highest ranking for Bob Bradley's men since their 2006 World Cup collapse, and the team could see a further rise with the Gold Cup getting underway over the weekend.
Neighboring rivals Mexico fell seven spots to number 33 in the list, their lowest-ever ranking, and more significantly were passed by Costa Rica, who climbed 11 spots to number 30.
This represents the first time since the inception of regular rankings by FIFA in August 1993 that the the US and Mexico did not occupy the top two spots in CONCACAF, and is further evidence of a shift of power in the region away from the now even more appropriately nicknamed "El Tri".
The influence of the Nats' participation - for better and for worse - in the Confederations Cup was also clear at the top of the ranking.
Semi-final victims Spain fell out of the top spot for the first time since prior to their Euro Cup victory in June 2008, while Brazil returned to the apex for the first time since August 2007 thanks in part to a pair of victories over the Red, White & Blue in South Africa.
Rounding out the top five were traditional European powers Netherlands, Italy and Germany.
12. United States
30. Costa Rica