England are officially the fourth best team in the world following the latest calculation of FIFA's rankings preceding the European Championship.

Roy Hodgson's side crashed out at the quarter final stage at Euro 2012, losing on penalties to eventual runners-up Italy, and are yet to reach a semi-final of a major tournament since 1996.

However, FIFA's complicated rankings system, which takes into account results from the last four years sees England rise by two places into fourth, while Brazil are down to 11<sup>th, their lowest position since the inception of the rankings in 1992.

Roy Hodgson
Hodgson has led an improvement in England's fortunes.

Having successfully defended their European Championship title, Spain have extended their lead at the top, with Germany slotting into second ahead of Uruguay who hold a narrow advantage over England.

Portugal, who were edged on penalties in the semi-final to eventual winners Spain, are behind England in fifth, while conquerors and beaten finalists Italy are sixth, rising six places.

Netherlands' group stage exit sees them drop from fourth to eighth, while fellow first round failures Croatia and Denmark drop just one place after both picking up opening round wins.

Republic of Ireland drop eight places after becoming the first team to exit the tournament, Wales remain in 38<sup>th, Scotland are down to 49<sup>th while Northern Ireland rise a place to 102<sup>nd.

The much maligned rankings consider the points gained in the result of the match, the importance of the game, the standard of the opponent and their confederation in their calculations.

Results are taken from all games, including friendlies, from the last four years with 20% weight given to games three years ago, 30% to games two years ago, 50% to last year's results and 100% to the current year.

Confusion reigns as England, who have reached two major semi-finals in the last 46 years since their 1966 World Cup victory, have risen to fourth, despite a quarter-final exit at Euro 2012, which preceded exiting at the second round stage of the 2010 World Cup.

Hodgson's side will have an opportunity to further improve their status among the world's elite when they face Italy in a friendly at Wembley on 14 August.