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Palestine national soccer team achieves highest-ever FIFA ranking

June 5, 2014 9:18 P.M. (Updated: June 6, 2014 6:28 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian National Football team has jumped ahead 71 places in the FIFA World Rankings following a historic win and their first-ever qualification to the Asian Cup, reaching their highest-ever international ranking.

Palestine jumped to the 94th place in the international rankings after moving up 270 points during their drive to reach clinch the Asian Football Confederation Challenge Cup, which pits lower-ranked teams from across Asia against each other and secures the winner a spot in the Asian Cup.

Palestine had won four matches and drew one on their way to clinch the AFC Challenge Cup, and earned a place in their first-ever continental tournament, by qualifying for the AFC Asian Cup to be held in Australia in 2015.

Their final tournament victory came on May 30 when they beat the Philippines in the final with a curling free kick by Ashraf Numan al-Fawaghra.

Palestine won the tournament without conceding a single goal to an opposing team.

Palestine's football team is now ranked 10th in Asia.

The Palestinian national football team has been around since 1928, but was recognized by FIFA only in 1998.
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