SportSoccer

Ireland make leap in FIFA rankings

SoccerBy Kevin Palmer
Manager Martin O'Neill will preside over World Cup draw for Ireland
Manager Martin O'Neill will preside over World Cup draw for Ireland

The Republic of Ireland have leaped eight places to 52nd in the latest FIFA rankings - will not be enough to avoid a fourth place seeding for the upcoming World Cup draw.

A rise represents decent progress for Martin O'Neill's side, who would have enjoyed an even more healthy step up the rankings if they had beaten Scotland in last month's Euro 2016 qualifier.

As it turns out, the 1-1 draw against the Scots at the Aviva Stadium was not enough to push the Irish cause ahead of the draw for the qualifying phase of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers.

It means Ireland will be ranked among the also-rans of European football, with the Faroe Islands and Estonia now ranked in a position to be put among the same seeds as O'Neill's side.

The Irish fall from grace has been in motion for some time now, with the demise all the more galling considering the impressive leaps forward made by the likes of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland in the last couple of years.

Chris Coleman's Wales will be among the top seeds for the European section of the 2018 World Cup qualifiers after their break into the top ten of the FIFA rankings, with Scotland and Northern Ireland among the teams in the third seeded ground.

The draw will take place on July 25th in St Petersburg, Russia.

LATEST FIFA RANKINGS

1. Argentina

2. Germany

3. Belgium

4. Colombia

5. Netherlands

6. Brazil

7. Portugal

8. Romania

9. England

10. Wales

Selected others:

12. Spain

29. Scotland

37. Northern Ireland

52= Republic of Ireland, Cape Verde Islands, South Korea