Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland reach highest position ever in FIFA world rankings

With just weeks to go until Euro 2016, the Northern Ireland team has reached its highest ever FIFA world ranking.

In the new FIFA world rankings released on Thursday, the team moved up two places this month to reach number 26.

Michael O'Neill’s men have been steadily rising through the rankings as they prepare to go to France for the finals this summer.

Just four years ago, the team faced their worst ever ranking as they sat at number 129.

But following the successful qualification campaign, the team have risen up the table from 89th in 2013, 48th in 2014 and finally into the top 30 last year.

And a record 10 unbeaten matches has helped them reach 26th.

Their previous best ranking was 27 which they secured in both 2009 and 2007.

The team have two more friendlies against Belarus and Slovakia ahead of the Euros, which will kick off with a game against Poland on 12 June. The Polish team currently sit just behind Northern Ireland in 27th place.

Fellow Euro finalists England reached number fell one place to number 10 and Wales fell seven places to number 24. The Republic of Ireland sit just below Northern Ireland as they fell two places to number 31.

Scotland, the only UK team not to make the finals, rose five places and now sit in 40th position.

Elsewhere, Belgium's five-month stay at the top of the FIFA men's rankings comes to an end, with the Red Devils usurped by 2014 World Cup runners-up Argentina.

With fans hoping for more success in France this summer, the IFA have been encouraging them to get involved and have asked supporters to tweet pictures of themselves to be part of the player posters.

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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