Big Movers of 2000
World champions France proved their power once again by winning Euro 2000 which took place in the Netherlands and Belgium.
Japan and Cameroon also lifted their continental trophies and were the biggest movers of the year. The Japanese hammered defending champions Saudi Arabia 4-1 and humiliated Uzbekistan 8-1 in Lebanon on their way to the final where a single goal against the Saudis gave them the title.
Cameroon won the Africa Cup of Nations beating hosts Nigeria on penalties after they had impressively knocked the Ivory Coast out with a 3-0 win in the group stage and inflicted the same result on Tunisia in the semi final.
Australia who grilled the Cook Islands 17-0 and outclassed the Solomon Islands 6-0 before lifting the Oceania Cup with a 2-0 win against New Zealand in Tahiti, showed their strength against tougher opposition when they travelled to Europe and won their friendly matches 3-0 in Hungary and 2-0 in Scotland.
Lesotho who had defeated the visiting Angolans 2-1 in a friendly began the African qualifiers superbly by earning a 3-3 draw at home to Ghana and drawing 1-1 in DR Congo
Hungary drew 1-1 in Paraguay and won 1-0 away to Northern Ireland in friendly matches before getting their 2002 World Cup qualifiers underway with a creditable 2-2 home draw against Italy and the 6-1 hammering of Lithuania in Kaunas.
Rwanda held Ivory Coast to a 2-2 draw at home in a World Cup qualifier before beating Congo 2-1 in a continental qualifier also at home, and in friendly matches they enjoyed a 2-0 home win over Uganda and gained the same result away to Zambia where they also had a 1-0 victory over Zimbabwe.
Morocco sank in the rankings after failing to get out of the group stage of the African Cup of Nations with only one goal to their name and losing 5-1 in a home friendly to France before a goalless draw in their World Cup qualifier away to Namibia and a shock 2-0 defeat away to Gabon in an African qualifier.
Ghana who were expected to do well as co-hosts of the Africa Cup of Nations scraped through their group having drawn 1-1 against Cameroon and lost 2-0 to Ivory Coast only to be knocked out 1-0 by South Africa in the next round. They also drew 3-3 in an African qualifier away to Lesotho and lost 2-1 to Uganda and 3-2 to Tanzania in friendly matches in Nairobi Kenya.
Zambia failed to recover from their 2-0 loss to Egypt in the Africa Cup of Nations and went on to play 2 friendly matches at home to Malawi in which they drew 1-1 and lost 1-0 before losing 1-0 away to Ethiopia and 2-1 at home to Madagascar in African qualifiers and losing 2-0 in a friendly at home to Rwanda.
Senegal lost 1-0 to Egypt in the African Cup of Nations and could only draw 1-1 in their World Cup qualifier in Benin before going to Cape Verde where they lost 1-0 to their hosts and drew 1-1 with Gambia. In African qualifiers they drew 0-0 at home to Togo and lost 1-0 in Guinea.
Latvia began the year with defeats to Romania, Slovakia and Lithuania in Cyprus, and also lost a friendly 1-0 at home to Belarus before succumbing 4-0 at home to Belgium in a World Cup qualifier. Their 1-0 World Cup qualifier win in San Marino also fell short of expectation.
Among the most surprising results were Brazil's 3-0 defeat in Chile and Canada's 2-0 home loss to Trinidad & Tobago, both World Cup qualifiers.
The highest score of the year was Kuwait's 20-0 burial of Bhutan in an Asian Cup qualifier.
There were 9 new countries entering the rankings with Central African Republic moving in at 106 after a 1-1 home draw against DR Congo and a 1-0 home defeat to Zimbabwe. Equatorial Guinea moved in at 125 after losing 1-0 to Angola and 3-1 to Congo in their home matches. Sao Tome & Principe, New Caledonia, US Virgin Islands, Western Samoa, Bhutan, Anguilla and American Samoa moved in to lower positions with the latter rooted firmly at the bottom after being tossed aside 18-0 by Tahiti.