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Sunday 4 December 2016

Ireland climb eight spots to 52 in FIFA world rankings

Scotland's Shaun Maloney and Ireland's Seamus Coleman (right) battle for the ball during the UEFA European Championship Qualifying match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. Niall Carson/PA Wire
Scotland's Shaun Maloney and Ireland's Seamus Coleman (right) battle for the ball during the UEFA European Championship Qualifying match at the Aviva Stadium, Dublin. Niall Carson/PA Wire

The Republic of Ireland have climbed eight sports to No 52 in the FIFA world rankings.

The latest rankings show that Martin O'Neill's side have jumped eight places but it's Wales' rise which really catches the eye.

Wales have entered the top 10 of the FIFA world rankings for the first time in their history - and are now just one place below England.

Chris Coleman's side climbed 12 places from 22nd to 10th in the July rankings after beating Belgium last month to move to the brink of qualification for the European Championships next summer.

Wales were ranked a lowly 117th in August 2011 but they have enjoyed a dramatic rise ever since and now stand above France, Italy and Spain as well as newly-crowned Copa America champions Chile.

The form of Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey and company - Wales have lost only one of their last 11 matches - has seen the nation placed into the top pot of European seeds for the 2018 World Cup qualifying draw in St Petersburg on July 25.

England have jumped six places to ninth after their Euro 2016 qualifying victory in Slovenia last month but Scotland are down one to 29.

Northern Ireland are up seven places to 37.

Argentina's consolation for losing the Copa America final to Chile last weekend is regaining top spot from Germany, who drop to second, while Belgium slip to third after their defeat in Wales.

Wales manager Coleman said the rise in the rankings reflected the work of those both on and off the pitch in the national set-up.

"It's fantastic for the team's efforts to be recognised along with those who have played an important role off the pitch, from the backroom staff to our brilliant fans," Coleman told FAW Radio.

"However, our focus absolutely remains on qualification for Euro 2016.

"That will be the measurement of success."

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