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Ireland rise to No 18 in rankings

Ireland have moved up to 18th in the latest set of FIFA world rankings, published yesterday.

Giovanni Trapattoni's men moved into the top 20 in the world for the first time since 2005 on the strength of their Euro 2012 qualification, and they continue to creep up the list.

This summer's opponents Spain are No 1, with Croatia in eighth spot and Italy dropping to 12th.

England are seventh, while Scotland improve to 48th. Northern Ireland are tied in 100th spot with Antigua and Barbuda.

Meanwhile, Chelsea's Branislav Ivanovic has appealed against a charge of violent conduct following an incident in Saturday's win over Wigan at Stamford Bridge.

Ivanovic (28) was caught on video appearing to strike Wigan's Shaun Maloney in the midriff moments before Juan Mata's winner.

Referee Mike Jones confirmed he and his assistants did not witness the incident, giving the Football Association the green light to investigate it retrospectively. The case will be heard today.

Irish Independent