Republic of Ireland move up one place in Fifa rankings

Draws against Sweden and Austria see Ireland 39th in the world while Brazil hit new low

Ireland’s 0-0 draw with Sweden in the Friends Arena last month helped them rise one place in the Fifa rankings. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

Ireland’s 0-0 draw with Sweden in the Friends Arena last month helped them rise one place in the Fifa rankings. Photograph: Donall Farmer/Inpho

 

The Republic of Ireland moved up a place to 39th in the latest Fifa world rankings following World Cup qualifying draws against Austria and Sweden as 2014 World Cup host Brazil hit a new low.

England have dropped three places to seventh following their 1-1 draw in Montenegro. The top three of Spain, Germany and Argentina remain unchanged.

Ireland’s opponents in World Cup Group C, Sweden slipped back three places to 24th while Austria claimed eight places to 71st.

Wales have leapt 22 spots from 71st to 49th, with their 2-1 win in Scotland counting against a defeat by the same scoreline to Croatia. The Scots, meanwhile, find themselves in 77th position – down 11 – following that defeat and another in Serbia.

The most chastening news, though, is saved for Northern Ireland. They have slumped to 119th, falling from 98th last month, having lost their only match at home to Israel. That puts them below the likes of Antigua and Barbuda, Surinam and Tajikistan in the rankings.

Five-times World Cup winners Brazil dropped one place to 19th while Ecuador moved into the top 10 for the first time. Brazil’s 4-0 win over Bolivia at the start of this month, their first since Luiz Felipe Scolari took the reigns for a second stint, failed to stop the rot after draws against Italy and Russia at the end of March.

Part of Brazil’s decline is because they are not involved in World Cup qualifiers and friendlies count for fewer points under the complicated calculations system. However, results have been far from impressive – especially against top sides.

They are the fifth-best South American team in the rankings behind Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador and Uruguay. Venezuela (36), Panama (38), Albania (48), Equatorial Guinea (59), Tajikistan (112) and Afghanistan (139) all joined Ecuador in achieving their highest-ever position.

The rankings continued to make embarrassing reading for Asian football with Japan, the confederation's best-placed team, dropping three places to 29th. South Korea (42) and Australia (46) are their only other teams in the top 50.

Ivory Coast are Africa’s best-placed team at 12th with Mexico, in 14th, leading the way for Concacaf. Bhutan, San Marino and Turks and Caicos Islands stayed level at the bottom.