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Azkals further slip in FIFA rankings

Belgium is now the top football nation in the world as per the new FIFA rankings. Geert Vanden Wijngaert/AP (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--A week before they face off with Yemen, the Philippine Azkals suffered a slide in the FIFA rankings with the official update being released on Thursday.

The Azkals lost three spots to 137th overall while seeing their previous opponent, North Korea, zooming up nine places to 120th overall despite holding the squad to a goalless draw in front of its crowd in Pyongyang.

Chad, the biggest gainer in the latest FIFA ranking with a 39-rank upgrade, even overtook the Azkals at 136th overall.

Despite the fall, the Azkals remained the top Southeast Asian nation despite all but two of their neighboring nations moving up from their respective rankings last month.

The Azkals also fell two spots in the Asian rankings to 19th in the continent as Turkmenistan and Kyrgyzstan, two countries also with huge improvements from last month, zoomed past them as well.

Meanwhile, Belgium, inspired by its run in the Euro 2016 qualifiers, took the top spot in the world rankings, dropping erstwhile leader Argentina to third. Germany remained second overall.

Other shakeups in the top ten saw Chile barging to the top five, Wales crashing out with a seven-rank downfall, and Austria moving up to the said list.

Sudan suffered the biggest slide as it crashed to 128th overall from 84th last month, a 44-spot slip.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno