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The Socceroos remain Asia's second-ranked nation, while England have moved into third in August's FIFA world rankings

Australia have dropped one place to 24th in the latest FIFA world rankings.

With Ecuador rising seven places to 20th, the Socceroos fell one place to 24th and still trail Japan [22nd] as the AFC's highest-ranked nation.  But the most notable move was that of England, who hit an all-time high of third in the FIFA world rankings.

Despite failing to reach the semi-final of an international competition since Euro 1996, Roy Hodgson's side now place behind just Germany and world and European champions Spain.

England did not play throughout the month of July, but moved one spot up the table after Uruguay, who were previously third, had points deducted due to their Copa America triumph last year losing importance.

The ranking system used by the world's football governing body has been long mocked, with FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke recently coming out in defence of the table.

"I know that these rankings are sometimes quite difficult to understand, due to the level and numbers of criteria that are taken into account," Valcke said.

"There are teams who are playing more friendly games than other teams and you can see a difference which is not very logical, but the ranking, I would say, is clearly still a good picture of the level of international football.

"Brazil are not playing official games, just friendly games as they are already qualified [as hosts, for the 2014 World Cup].

"There have been internal meetings and also with the football committee to discuss the ranking of the different nations.

"We want to be able to explain in an easier way how this ranking is based."

Elsewhere in the August 2012 update of the rankings, five-time World Cup winners Brazil have dropped to an all-time low of 13th, while Portugal, Italy and Argentina are unchanged in fifth, sixth and seventh respectively.

The Netherlands, Croatia and Denmark make up the remainder of the top 10.

South Sudan are the latest new entry on the list, and the 209th nation overall, after drawing 2-2 with Uganda in their competitive bow, allowing them a 199th-place ranking.

New Zealand stay steady in 95th position.

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