Germany beats America to land top spot as world's best country

 
Guy Bentley
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Germany is now the "world's best country (Source: Getty)

Germany has knocked the US off its perch to become the country with the world's best brand. America had retained the for five years but Germany reclaimed the title for the first time since 2008.

The Nation Brands Index, compiled by, er, German think tank Anholt-GfK Roper polled 20,000 people from 20 countries about which country they thought had the best image. There were 49 countries competing for the top spot.

Each country's' rating was based on six main categories: exports, government, culture, population, tourism and immigration/investment. The six categories were made up of 23 different attributes.

The factor that pushed Germany into the top spot this year was victory at the FIFA World Cup. Thanks to the sporting prowess it showed in Brazil, Germany enjoyed a huge rise in the sub-category of sports excellence.

Simon Anholt, a policy adviser who developed the study, said:

Germany appears to have benefited not only from the sports prowess it displayed on the world stage at the FIFA World Cup championship, but also by solidifying its perceived leadership in Europe through a robust economy and steady political stewardship.

However, Germany - until recently seen as the "powerhouse" of the European economy - also scored highly on measures with which it is more typically associated, like investment in climate change technologies and social equality.

In bad news for fans of the US, the land of the free made only meagre gains compared to other developed nations. Given US foreign policy over the last 14 years, it's hardly surprising it ranks 19 out of 50 for global peace and security.

But the US is still seen in the eyes of the world as being one of the best places for creativity, contemporary culture and education.

However, before you start thinking that the world only swoons for continental giants and North American superpowers, the UK took the bronze, beating France, Canada, Japan, Italy, Switzerland, Australia and Sweden to third place.

Russia was the only country to suffer a significant downgrade, slipping three places to 25th, thanks to its interference in Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea. Argentina, China and Singapore jumped ahead of Russia in global perceptions.

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