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Friday 18 April 2014

Rankings drop has removed Trapattoni's final refuge

FIFA rankings for December

Ireland have dropped out of the top 40 in the FIFA world rankings on account of their poor performances in 2012. Giovanni Trapattoni's side are alongside Bolivia and Gabon in 42nd spot after a year where the only competitive victories registered came against lowly ranked Kazakhstan and the Faroe Islands.

The 73-year-old has consistently highlighted an advance up the world rankings as one of the positives of his tenure, and referred to that fact during a turbulent October when his position was in doubt.

Ireland were in 41st spot when he assumed control, so the Italian is now behind where he started. Defeats at the hands of higher-ranked opposition in Euro 2012 and the drubbing at the hands of Germany removed the best chance to progress higher.

May's 1-0 triumph over Bosnia was the only friendly success, although Trapattoni argues that those games should not count towards the ranking; thus making it easier to experiment.

Should Ireland finish second in their World Cup qualifying group, FIFA rankings will come into the reckoning for playoff seeding.

Not surprisingly, Spain remain at the top of the charts, with the Germans in second spot, Argentina third and Italy fourth. Colombia have jumped to fifth spot.

England are in sixth spot while Brazil – who will host the 2014 World Cup – drop to 18th, partly due to the fact they don't have to play any qualifiers and partly due to poor results which led to a change of management last month with Mano Menenez replaced by Luiz Felipe Scolari. Scotland have fallen to 72nd in the rankings, with Wales down to 82nd. Michael O'Neill's Northern Ireland have risen four berths to 96th position.

FIFA rankings for December

1. Spain (1)

2. Germany (2)

3. Argentina (3)

4. Italy (5)

5. Colombia (8)

6. England (6)

7. Portugal (4)

8. Netherlands (7)

9. Russia (9)

10. Croatia (10)

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