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Thursday, Jan 19th

Last update:07:41:37 PM GMT

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With only 12 “A” matches played since the final ranking of 2016, there are few big changes in the January edition of the FIFA World Ranking. The top 34 positions of the ranking table remain unchanged with Argentina, Brazil and Germany still holding first, second and third place respectively.

Despite the overall stability of the January table, two new teams have broken into the top 50. Saudi Arabia (48th, up 6) and Nigeria (50th, up 1) move up at the expense of Albania (51st, down 2) and Burkina Faso (53rd, down 3).

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Argentina will end the year on top of the world, leading the way in the final FIFA World Ranking of 2016 from neighbours Brazil in second. La Albiceleste thus take the “Team of the Year” title from Belgium, whom they overtook at the summit in April this year, and where they have stayed for the subsequent eight editions of the ranking. In all, the Argentinians won ten of their 15 games in 2016, losing three times and drawing twice.

Edgardo Bauza’s side are the ninth-best movers of 2016, but the title of “Mover of the Year” – for the side that has gained the most ranking points since December 2015 – goes to UEFA EURO 2016 finalists France. Les Bleus won 13 of their 17 games in 2016 and drew three, with their sole defeat, their most significant for some years, coming in the continental finale after extra time against Portugal. Argentina also shared the pain of defeat in their own continental showpiece event, the Copa América, losing to Chile on penalties in June. Despite this shared negative experience, both now share a place in ranking history with their respective awards for 2016.

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Juan Martin del Potro staged a magnificent comeback after losing the first two sets to beat Marin Cilic before Federico Delbonis defeated Ivo Karlovic to enable Argentina claim their maiden Davis Cup tennis title. Del Potro won 6-7 (4), 2-6, 7-5, 6-4, 6-3 in 4 hours 53 minutes to level the title fixture 2-2 here on Sunday.

Then it was Delbonis handily beating Karlovic 6-3, 6-4, 6-2 in the fifth and final match of the tie to hand the long-coveted trophy to Argentina, who have been beaten four times in the final earlier.

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Marin Cilic and Ivan Dodig gave hosts Croatia a vital 2-1 lead in the Davis Cup tennis final with a 7-6 (7-2), 7-6 (7-4), 6-3 doubles victory over Argentina's Juan Martin del Potro and Leonardo Mayer. The two teams put their best players - Cilic and Del Potro - into action after the tie was level at 1-1 following Friday's opening singles matches at the Zagreb Arena.

Although the Croatians won in straight sets on Saturday, the match was decided by just a handful of big points. The Argentines failed to convert a break point early as the first set came down to a tiebreaker, which Croatia won due in large part to critical errors by Mayer.

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Lionel Messi scored a goal and set up two others as Argentina brought their World Cup qualifying campaign back on track with a 3-0 victory over Colombia. Messi opened the scoring in the 10th minute at the Bicentenario stadium on Tuesday with a curling free kick that left Arsenal goalkeeper David Ospina clasping at thin air.

Lucas Pratto made it 2-0 soon after when he met a pinpoint Messi cross with a header that flew in at the far post. Messi put the result beyond doubt when he dribbled into the box and picked out Angel Di Maria, who rifled his shot passed Ospina from close range.

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Brazil coach Tite has called up Atletico Mineiro left-back Fabio Santos for the upcoming World Cup qualifier against Peru in Lima on Tuesday.

The 31-year-old was drafted into the squad on Friday to replace Marcelo, who is suspended after receiving a yellow card in the Selecao's 3-0 victory over Argentina on Thursday. Santos has been capped three times for Brazil since his international debut in 2012.

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Neymar scored a goal and set up another as Brazil heaped misery on Argentina with a 3-0 victory in their World Cup qualifier.

Liverpool's Philippe Coutinho and Guangzhou Evergrande's Paulinho were also on target to ensure that Brazil maintained their one-point cushion at the top of the South American zone (CONMEBOL) standings on Thursday.

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