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Thursday 06 Jul 2017
Michael O’Neill’s side move up six places on FIFA list

Northern Ireland have reached their highest ever position in FIFA’s official world rankings.

The victories over New Zealand and Azerbaijan in June have helped to propel the senior men’s international side to 22nd on the FIFA list.

Michael O’Neill’s team have moved up six places since the previous FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking last month.

England are 13th (no change), Wales dropped from 13th to 20th, Republic of Ireland are 29th (down three) and Scotland 58th (up three).

Germany, who top World Cup 2018 Qualifying Group C ahead of Northern Ireland in second, have capped a sensational week on the international stage by returning to the top of the list for the first time since being knocked off the top spot exactly two years ago. 

Following their 1-0 win over Chile in St Petersburg on Sunday, the newly crowned FIFA Confederations Cup champions have narrowly overtaken Brazil (2nd, down one) and leapfrogged Argentina (3rd, down one). Portugal, Switzerland and Poland respectively complete the top six. 

Only the Czech Republic among Northern Ireland’s other opponents in World Cup Qualifying Group C have risen in the rankings. They are up four places to 40th. Azerbaijan have dropped four to 80th, Norway have fallen one place to 88th and San Marino are still ranked 204th.

Meanwhile, the Northern Ireland senior women’s team have dropped five places to 60th in the women’s rankings, but that was due to inactivity. 

Their opponents in World Cup Qualifying Group C, which gets under way this autumn, have all either sat still in the rankings or dropped slightly. Norway are 11th (no change) and Netherlands 12th (no change) while Republic of Ireland are 33rd (down one) and Slovakia 43rd (down two).