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  Thursday, June 4, 2020
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The Russian national soccer team is
The Russian national soccer team is in the top 10 of the FIFA rankings for the first time since 1997.

The new FIFA rankings were released by the sport's international governing body on Wednesday and see Russia in 10th place, moving up one spot from July. Euro 2008 champions Spain remain top, while Germany, Russia's main opponents in their qualifying group for the 2010 World Cup, are in 2nd place.

The top five places are taken by European sides, with Brazil in sixth and Argentina in seventh the only two non-European nations to make the top 10.

Russia, who unexpectedly reached the semifinals of Euro 2008, beating Holland 3-1 in the quarterfinals, were last in the FIFA top 10 in October 1997, when they held ninth place.

The team's highest ever position is 3rd, a spot they held in April 1996, shortly before the European Championships in England, where the side crashed out in the first round without a win. Their worst ever ranking was in December 1998 when the team plummeted to 40th place.

The world's favorite sport is currently experiencing a boom in Russia as oligarchs and energy companies pump millions of dollars into the national game. In May, Zenit St. Petersburg became the second Russian club to win the UEFA Cup in four years after CSKA Moscow's 2005 triumph.

The latest FIFA top 10 rankings are:

1. Spain

2. Germany

3. Italy

4. Netherlands

5. Croatia

6. Brazil

7. Argentina

8. Czech Republic

9. Portugal

10. Russia


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