Big Movers of 2004
Despite the Americans winning the Olympics in Athens, it was once again Germany who finished top of the rankings with the Olympic winners moving into 2nd place, replacing Sweden who fell to 8th in the table.
Ethiopia moved up the most after finishing 4th in Africa, losing to Ghana on penalties, having beaten hosts South Africa 2-1 in the group stage.
Belarus enjoyed 2-0 wins away to Kazakhstan and Israel and thrashed Kazakhstan 8-1 at home in European qualifiers.
Zimbabwe defeated hosts South Africa 2-1 but failed to reach the semi-finals of the African Cup on goal difference.
Angola earned a 3-2 win at home to a superior South Africa who had already all but eliminated them after a convincing win in the first leg of the Olympic qualifiers.
Panama moved up in the rankings mainly due to a 3-0 victory over Jamaica in an Olympic qualifier played in Costa Rica.
Finland also had a successful year with a 1-1 draw in Italy and a 2-0 win away to Switzerland before doing the double over Russia 1-0 at home and 3-1 away from home in Euro qualifiers, though they only moved up 5 places.
South Africa had a very disappointing year losing an Olympic qualifier 3-2 away to Angola before hosting the African Cup where they lost 3-0 to Ghana and 2-1 to Zimbabwe and Ethiopia for an early exit.
Mali drew 2-2 at home to Algeria and lost the away match by a single goal but after the withdrawal of DR Congo and Gabon were awarded a place in the finals in South Africa where they were soundly beaten 3-0 by Algeria and finished bottom of their group.
Kazakhstan lost 2-0 at home to Belarus and were hammered 8-0 in the away match and also drew blanks at home to Estonia in European qualifiers.
Jamaica moved down in the rankings mainly due to their 3-0 defeat to Panama in an Olympic qualifier played in Costa Rica.
Latvia were outclassed 4-0 by Lithuania and 5-0 by Estonia in the Baltic Cup played in Lithuania.
Haiti were brushed aside 5-0 by Mexico and 6-2 by Trinidad and Tobago in Olympic qualifiers in Costa Rica.
The most surprising result of the year was Russia's 5-2 victory away to France in a European qualifier, while Myanmar's 17-0 mauling of the Maldives in a friendly in Vietnam was the highest-scoring result.
There were 6 new countries in the rankings. Congo moved into 93rd place after a 2-2 draw away and a 2-0 win at home to Equatorial Guinea and a creditable goalless draw in Cameroon in African qualifiers, followed by Senegal, Tanzania, Malawi, Eritrea and Guinea who occupied the 126th place after being dumped out of the African qualifiers 13-0 at home and 9-0 away to Ghana.