European champions Italy are on a world record 37-game unbeaten streak, but they remain lodged at number five in the FIFA rankings.
The world governing body published its new list on Thursday and the only change in the top five saw England jump to third, nudging France down to fourth.
England were runners-up to Italy in the Euro 2020 final, losing on penalties at Wembley after a 1-1 draw, and two wins and a draw from World Cup qualifiers in September have seen Gareth Southgate’s team edge ahead of Les Bleus.
It is the first time since 2012 that England have reached the top three, and third place remains the highest position they have achieved in the rankings.
Didier Deschamps’ France could only manage two draws and a win in this month’s international break, while Italy were held by Bulgaria and Switzerland before landing a 5-0 victory over Lithuania.
Italy have been a roaring success under the leadership of Roberto Mancini, who inherited a team that failed to qualify for the last World Cup and had plummeted to 21st in FIFA’s rankings.
They set the record for the most games unbeaten at international level during their run of September games, staying in control as leaders of World Cup European qualifying Group C.
With FIFA’s rankings offering significant weighting to World Cup tournament performance, Italy could make a significant leap should their strong form under coach Mancini continue into the Qatar 2022 finals.
Belgium remain top of the FIFA list, with Brazil in second. Copa America winners Argentina stay sixth.