17 Oct 2009

All Whites climb the world football rankings

11:24 am on 17 October 2009

As the All Whites prepare for the biggest game of their international careers, they've had a boost with a 17-place climb up the latest world football rankings to 83rd.

Ahead of the deciding play-off game against Bahrain in the capital next month for a second world cup appearance, New Zealand have leapfrogged the 2010 world cup hosts South Africa, who languish in 85th place.

Bahrain are 61st, up three spots.

Brazil remain number one, just ahead of Spain while Portugal's rise back into the top 10 ensured they will be seeded for their forthcoming world cup play-off.

The Netherlands, Italy and Germany complete an unchanged top five while Diego Maradona's Argentina have risen two places to sixth in the rankings despite struggling to gain automatic entry into next year's tournament.

Uruguay, who are ranked 25th, also face a play-off to reach the finals after they lost their final qualifying game at home to Argentina.