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Germany down 14 places in FIFA world rankings; France up to No. 1

Manuel Neuer insists despite the stressing nature of Germany's World Cup exit, the playing group must move on.

Germany's exit in the group stage of the World Cup has seen them plummet to 15th in FIFA's world rankings -- their lowest position in more than a decade.

The defending World Cup champions entered the competition No. 1 in the rankings, but they failed to reach the knockout rounds and made their earliest exit from the tournament in 80 years. They were ranked No. 22 in March 2006 but finished the year ranked No. 6 after finishing third at the World Cup.

France are top of the rankings after winning their second World Cup, returning to the spot for the first time since 2002. Belgium are second, Brazil are third and Croatia, the runners-up, are fourth, jumping up from No. 20.

The rankings were the first to be issued since France beat Croatia 4-2 in the World Cup final on July 15 and also the first since FIFA replaced its previous formula.

Uruguay rose from No. 9 to No. 5, England moved up six places to No. 6 and Argentina dropped to No. 11.

Hosts Russia improved from No. 70 to No. 49 after reaching the quarterfinals and Egypt, who lost all three group-stage games, dropped from No. 45 to No. 65.

The United States, who did not qualify for the World Cup, moved up three places to No. 22, while Italy, who also did not participate in the competition, fell to No. 22 -- their worst position since the rankings started in 1993.

The new formula, approved by the FIFA Council before the World Cup, relied on adding or subtracting points depending on the results of matches rather than averaging points over a given period of time.

FIFA said the new system was developed over two years during which "a large number of different algorithms was tested and extensively discussed."

The new system would no longer weight matches according to which region they were played in and this would provide "fair and equal opportunities for all teams across all confederations."

FIFA said the removal of an annual average point calculation, which was part of the previous formula, would have a number of benefits, including reducing the ability of teams to influence their ranking by avoiding friendlies.

Information from Reuters was included in this report.

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