The Republic of Ireland have climbed to their highest ranking since August 2005. At that time, the Brian Kerr managed side were flying high in their ultimately failed qualification campaign for the 2006 World Cup.
Even though Giovanni Trapatoni’s side have not yet played this calendar year; they have jumped three places to a ranking of 20th (out of 208 FIFA national associations). The Republic of Ireland’s next senior game; a friendly against the Czech Republic on 28th February at Lansdowne Road’s AVIVA Stadium. There will then be a three month break before facing Bosnia & Herzegovina on 26th May, again in Dublin. The squad then heads to training camp in Montecanti, Italy for a week before a friendly against Hungary in Budapest’s Ferenc Puskas Stadium on 4th June. Euro 2012 of course then starts on 10th June with an opening match against Croatia.
New African Cup of Nations Champions; Zambia are the big movers in the rankings; leaping 28 places to 43rd in the world. One of Ireland’s Euro 2012 Group opponents – Spain stay top of the rankings (having not played either yet this calendar year). Germany and the Netherlands make up the other medal placings. England are fifth, Wales move up to 42nd, Scotland stay at 48th and Northern Ireland have risen one place to 86th. Brasil have slipped to their lowest ranking in over ten years; dropping to seventh in the table.
This is the full list of world rankings from FIFA’s official website: