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    RUSSIA'S NATIONAL SOCCER TEAM GOES DOWN ON FIFA RANKINGS

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    MOSCOW, MARCH 17 (RIA NOVOSTI) - The Russian national team has descended to 29th position (652 points) on the FIFA's world soccer rankings, down from the 25th.

    Most of the world's top football teams have retained their positions on the rankings: Brazil still leads with its 842 points, followed by France (826 points) and Spain (791 points). Russia is to play Spain in group matches of the 2004 European Championships.

    The other top ten players include the Netherlands (747 points), Mexico (740 points), the Czech Republic (735), the UK (735), Argentina (735), Turkey (733), and Germany (729). The Czech and the Germans have come up two ranking positions since last month while the British have risen one position. Italy's national team, by contrast, has dropped to 11th position (726 points).

    As for Russia's other two Euro 2004 challengers, the Portuguese are still holding 17th place (676 points) whereas the Greeks, with their 643 points, have managed to rise to 33rd position, up from 36th in February.

    FIFA rankings for next month are to be released April 14.

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