Liverpool's Dirk Kuyt in action for the Netherlands against Hungary in European qualifiers [GALLO/GETTY]

Spain may be World and European champions with barely a defeat to their name in the last three years, but it was not enough to stop the Netherlands reaching number one for the first time in the latest FIFA rankings.

The Dutch, who lost to Spain in last year's World Cup final, did not play a match last month after riots in London caused their friendly against England to be cancelled.

But Spain were beaten by Italy to lose their place at the top, which they had held for a year.

On Wednesday the Dutch became the seventh team to head the rankings since they were introduced in 1993, after Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

Brazil's 3-2 friendly defeat by Germany cost them two places as they dropped from fourth to sixth, meaning that Uruguay, who remained fifth, became South America's highest-ranked team. 

England moved up to fourth thanks to Brazil’s poor performances in the Copa America and their friendly defeat to Germany.

Top 10 rankings

Netherlands, Spain, Germany, England, Uruguay, Brazil, Italy, Portugal, Argentina, Croatia.

Source: Agencies