ZURICH -- Germany climbed to the top of the FIFA rankings on Thursday after winning the World Cup for the first time in 24 years, while several European rivals paid the price for their dismal performances in Brazil.
Germany, which beat Argentina 1-0 on Sunday to win a fourth World Cup, replaced deposed champion Spain in first place. Argentina jumped three places into second in the rankings, while the Netherlands soared 12 spots into third after beating host Brazil to clinch third place.
Reaching the quarterfinals took Colombia to fourth and Belgium to fifth in FIFA's monthly rankings, which take into account all 64 World Cup matches.
Spain's title defense surprisingly ended in the group stage, and the team has dropped to eighth place. First-round exits also led to Portugal going down seven places to 11th, Italy dropping five to 14th and England plummeting 10 spots to 20th.
The United States fell two places to 15th despite reaching the round of 16 where they lost to Belgium. The Americans were overtaken by the Dutch, Chile and France.