For now, Northern Ireland have stopped their dramatic slide down the FIFA World Rankings and even started the journey up them. Admittedly, it’s only a single place and it happened with no football actually being played but it is cause to celebrate a little. Northern Ireland are now ranked 102nd in world football.
As always, I try not to place a whole lot of stock in the world rankings as a gauge of where Northern Ireland sit in comparison to the countries across the globe. This is backed up by the fact we haven’t played a game in the last month and yet manage to go upwards in the rankings.
I *think* that is down to the results from the early 2011 Asian Cup qualifying rounds being chalked off a lot of teams’ records. That isn’t completely verified but it seems to explain why quite a few Asian nations seem to have dropped in almost uniform fashion.
In regards to the rest of the home nations, England have gone up two places to fourth, Republic of Ireland have dropped eight to 26th following their horrible Euro 2012 campaign, Wales stayed where they were in 38th and Scotland fell eight places to 49th.
The other teams in Group F of World Cup 2014 qualifying group enjoy the rankings of 5th – Portugal, 13th – Russia, 82nd – Israel, 108th – Azerbaijan and 110th – Luxembourg. We’re still looking good for fourth place, just about.
In crap teams jumping above NI news, Bolivia (up 27 to 83rd), Malawi (up 14 to 93rd) and Zimbabawe (up six to 100th) are now ranked higher by FIFA than mighty Northern Ireland. We are also now within four places of FIFA World Cup 2022 hosts Qatar (98th).