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Zurich: Saudi Arabia’s massive 20 place rise in the February edition of the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking has seen the three-time AFC Asian Cup champions rise from seventh to third in the continental standings.

Propelled by their 97 points - the biggest tally of any nation on the latest edition of the global list - the Green Falcons soared from 75th to to 55th in the world rankings, seeing the Gulf nation replace Japan in third-place in the Asian standings.

Iran, the only AFC Member Association inside FIFA’s top 50, remain Asia’s highest-ranked nation while Korea Republic stay second, with the duo sitting at 44th and 53rd in the FIFA list respectively.

After slipping two places in the first edition of the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking, AFC Asian Cup 2015 champions Australia dropped a further nine places in February to sit sixth in Asia below the UAE, while 2007 AFC Asian Cup winners Iraq enter the Asian top ten at the expense of China.

Saudi Arabia were not the only big AFC movers in February, with Palestine’s 21-place rise lifting the last ever AFC Challenge Cup winners to 110th on the global list and 15th in Asia while DPR Korea - two-time winners of the now defunct tournament for ‘emerging nations’ - enjoyed an 18-place climb, taking the East Asians into the top 100 for the first time since peaking at 99 in 2013.

Full FIFA Ranking for Asia (February)

1 (44) Iran

2 (53) Korea Republic

3 (55) Saudi Arabia

4 (58) Japan

5 (65) United Arab Emirates

6 (68) Australia

7 (71) Uzbekistan

8 (78) Qatar

9 (82) Jordan

10 (89) Iraq

11 (93) China

12 (95) DPR Korea

13 (97) Oman

14 (105) Kyrgyzstan

15 (110) Palestine

16 (114) Turkmenistan

17 (120) Thailand

18 (125) Syria

19 (130) Bahrain

20 (133) Kuwait

21 (134) Philippines

22 (137) Hong Kong

23 (140) Lebanon

24 (146) Vietnam

25 (148) Singapore

25 (148) Tajikistan

27 (153) Myanmar

28 (154) Afghanistan

29 (156) Guam

30 (157) Maldives

31 (162) India

32 (170) Timor-Leste

33 (171) Malaysia

34 (175) Yemen

35 (177) Bangladesh

36 (178) Laos

37 (180) Indonesia

38 (181) Chinese Taipei

39 (183) Cambodia

40 (184) Brunei Darussalam

41 (185) Pakistan

42 (188) Nepal

43 (189) Sri Lanka

44 (193) Bhutan

45 (195) Macau

46 (201) Mongolia

* Note: position on FIFA’s World Ranking in parenthesis 

Photo: AFP