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Canada forward Tajon Buchanan battles for the ball during a Gold Cup match against Costa Rica, in Arlington, Tex., on July 25.Tony Gutierrez/The Associated Press

Canada has climbed 11 places to No. 59 in the latest FIFA world men’s rankings, on the strength of its performance at the Gold Cup and in World Cup qualifying.

The Canadians now rank fifth in CONCACAF, which covers North and Central America and the Caribbean, after leapfrogging No. 63 Honduras and No. 64 El Salvador. It marks Canada’s highest ranking since February, 2010, when it was 57th. The Canadian men’s highest-ever position was No. 40 in December, 1996.

Canada went 7-2-0 since the last rankings were released May 27, losing only to the U.S. and Mexico at the recent Gold Cup.

The Americans eventually beat the Mexicans in the CONCACAF championship final. Both regional powerhouses cracked the top 10 with Mexico moving up two places to No. 9 and the U.S. climbing 10 spots to No. 10.

Belgium, despite being eliminated in the European championship quarter-finals, retained the top spot in the latest rankings. Brazil and France swapped places with the South Americans moving to No. 2. Euro 2020 finalist England remained fourth while champion Italy rose two places to fifth.

Argentina, which downed Brazil to win Copa America, rose two places to No. 6 while Spain (down one) and Portugal (down three) dropped to No. 7 and 8, respectively. Mexico and the U.S. moved into the top 10 at the expense of Denmark (No. 11, down one) and Uruguay (No. 13, down four).

Gold Cup invitee Qatar jumped 16 places to No. 42 after reaching the tournament semi-finals, like Canada. It represented the largest climb of the month while equalling Qatar’s highest-ever ranking dating back to the first edition in 1993.

In February, 2002, Canada jumped 19 places to No. 73 in the rankings, courtesy of a third-place finish at the Gold Cup. At the time, it marked Canada’s quickest climb up the world soccer ladder since winning the 2000 Gold Cup, when it rose 24 spots to 61st overall.

In June, 2007, Canada climbed 38 places from No. 94 to No. 56 as it progressed to the Gold Cup semi-finals. It reached No. 52 the next month.

Canada’s lowest-ever ranking was 122nd, in August and October, 2014.

A total of 348 matches have been played since the last FIFA world ranking update.

Three of Team Canada’s Olympic champions and Canada Soccer’s president talk about their gold medal win in Tokyo and what it means for women’s soccer in Canada. They said it proves investing in women’s soccer is worthwhile and hope this win will inspire young girls to play.

The Canadian Press

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