Newly crowned African champions Egypt were the biggest climbers in the FIFA world rankings published on Wednesday, leaping 14 places to 10th after their third straight Africa Cup of Nations triumph.

Spain remain the top ranked side, followed by Brazil and the Netherlands.

The Republic of Ireland dropped two places to 37th, while Northern Ireland remain at 40th.

With the nine top-ranked sides all holding onto their places, Egypt's rise was the biggest of the month.

Cameroon, eliminated by the Pharoahs in the Cup of Nations quarter-finals, fell from 11th to 20th place.

Despite being Africa's strongest side, Egypt failed to qualify for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa after losing to fierce north African rivals Algeria in a play-off match in Khartoum on November 18.

Of the other African sides to have qualified for the World Cup, Nigeria (15th) and beaten finalists Ghana (27th) both climbed seven places each.

South Africa improved their ranking by four places to 81st, despite having not participated in the Africa Cup of Nations.

FIFA world rankings
1. Spain
2. Brazil
3. Netherlands
4. Italy
5. Portugal
6. Germany
7. France
8. Argentina
9. England
10. Egypt