England Women have been placed as the 13th best team in the world in FIFA's firs
England Women have been placed as the 13th best team in the world in FIFA's first ever world ranking system for women's football, launched in Chicago, USA, on Wednesday evening.
Leading the list is the USA, the current world champions, followed by Olympic gold medallists Norway in second and Germany, the European title holders, in third.
The world rankings take into account every international played by each nation on a points system - weighting matches against higher standard competition more than lesser achieving teams. England played their first international in 1972, beating Scotland 3-2 and have played 196 games since then.
Brent Hills, Assistant National Coach, commented: "Ranking tables are fantastic for generating discussions and for fans to give opinions. It's nice that FIFA have recognised the progress we have made, but we would rather judge ourselves on performance levels at championships.
"We have played four of the top five teams in the last 18 months, so we know only too well the challenged we face and the support we will need in order to compete realistically with these nations."
Despite their 13th-place ranking, England will not compete in the 16-nation Women's World Cup taking place in the USA in September. Qualification for the Finals is through continents with each designation having a set number of places. Europe has five places, but England lost out to France in the play-off final for the fifth place.
The rankings were announced a day before the draw was made for the 2003 World Cup, where the team placings determine the top seeds in each group. The world rankings will be updated on a quarterly basis.
Sitting just above England are Canada, to whom England lost twice away in a double series in May.
England's next international will be a tough test against the third best-ranked team in the world, Germany. Hope Powell's side will travel to Darmstadt for the match on 11th September, which will act as Germany's final preparation match prior to the World Cup kick-off nine days later.
England will have a chance to boost their current rating as the eighth best team in Europe when the country hosts the 2005 UEFA European Championship Finals. The Three Lions have qualified automatically as hosts and will be hopeful of putting on a good showcase for home fans.
For more information on Euro 2005, keep logged onto TheFA.com