Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland now 89th in FIFA world rankings

By Steven Beacom

Northern Ireland have nose-dived to number 89 in the Fifa world rankings list.

The national team, without a manager, dropped five places even though they didn’t play a game during the last international break.

The latest rating makes depressing reading for the fans who are hoping for some pre-Christmas cheer with news on Nigel Worthington’s successor.

Former Northern Ireland skippers Jim Magilton and Iain Dowie have been at the forefront of many thoughts, including some influential figures at the Irish FA, since Worthington’s departure.

Another ex-international Michael O’Neill, who is manager of Shamrock Rovers at present, also has his supporters.

Other old boys who have registered an interest include Jimmy Nicholl, James Quinn, Gerry Armstrong, Jimmy Quinn and former bosses Sammy McIlroy and Lawrie Sanchez.

The IFA have received scores of calls with Avram Grant, Dave Jones, Kevin Keegan, Robbie Fowler and Lothar Matthaus all keen to know more about the vacant post.

On Friday the IFA meet with the other nations in the World Cup qualifying group — Russia, Portugal, Israel, Azerbaijan and Luxembourg — to finalise dates for the forthcoming matches.

The new manager will start his role on January and will find himself below the might of Malawi and Antigua in the rankings, which are headed by Spain. England are up to fifth, the Republic of Ireland are now 21st, while Scotland are in 49th and Wales 50th.

Belfast Telegraph


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