Portugal (equal 11th up 1) and Germany (equal 11th up 2) both edge nearer to a top 10 comeback while Turkey drop slightly off the pace (13th down 3).
With just over 30 points separating 10th and 24th position however the forthcoming European qualifiers for the 2006 FIFA World Cup Germany™ may herald sweeping changes.
The USA remain in the #10 spot just ahead of Portugal and Germany no change since August.
AFC Asian Cup winners Japan appropriately the best-ranked Asian side advance two places (18th up 2) while runners-up China PR climb three (48th up 3) to break into the top 50. Losing semi-finalists Iran (21st up 3) and Bahrain (44th up 1) also make further progress.
Thanks to the nation's most recent success Bahrain - Mover of the Year in 2003 - record a best ever position since the introduction of the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking in August 1993; the same also goes for Mali (43rd up 3).
Meanwhile this month's most impressive climbers are Honduras (47th up 12) - reaping just reward for a stunning win in Costa Rica with a haul of points and a place inside the top 50 - and Guatemala (64th up 15). Also climbing more than five places are Wales (57th up 7) Cote d'Ivoire (58th up 6) Bosnia-Herzegovina (69th up 7) Belarus (77th up 6) Vietnam SR (94th up 7) and Moldova (104th up 6).
To view the entire ranking of all the soccer-playing nations in the world click here: www.fifa.com/en/mens/statistics/index/0254810302200.html?articleid=103022