Ireland close in on World Number 1 spot (well, we're up one to 18th) 10 years ago

Ireland close in on World Number 1 spot (well, we're up one to 18th)

The Ireland players may have had their feet up for the last month but that didn’t stop them moving up another place to 18th in the latest Fifa World Rankings list. We’ll get to the top of the pile yet.

Ireland had fallen to as low as 51st during the reign of St*ve ‘St*n’ St**nton but things have been going the right way under Trapattoni and 18th spot is our highest ranking since things started going pear-shaped around about August 2005 (at which point we were still in the Top 15).

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Given that we are in the same group as Spain (currently ranked 1st), Croatia (8th) and Italy (down three places to 12th) at the Euro 2012 finals this summer, clearly there are loads of opportunities for the boys in green to soar well into the Top 10 by the end of June.

Well, you have to keep your hopes up, right?

Anyway, a quick look around the rest of the Fifa rankings reveals that our old friends England have fallen a place to 7th, Fifa have bizarrely taken rugby results into account by raising Wales seven places to 41st, Scotland have climbed three places to 48th and poor ol’ Norn Iron are on the round but rather depressing number of 100, down 13 since last month.

What's that? You want to know some of the teams ahead of the North in the rankings these days? Well Vietnam, Guatemala and the high-flying Cape Verde Islands, for three.

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You know times are tough when countries you didn't even know had a team are ahead of you in the global pecking order.