Rob Earnshaw's Fifa ranking challenge to Wales players

INTERNATIONAL FRIENDLY - WALES v AUSTRALIA

Venue:
Cardiff City Stadium
Date:
Wednesday, 10 August
Kick-off:
1945 BST
Coverage:
Full commentary on BBC Radio Wales & BBC Radio Cymru, live text commentary on the BBC Sport website and mobiles and live on Sky Sports 4
Rob Earnshaw
Earnshaw has two of the three goals scored under new Wales boss Gary Speed

Rob Earnshaw has challenged his Wales team-mates to prove they are better than their lowly Fifa world ranking.

Gary Speed's team lie joint 112th in the governing body's world order and were among the bottom seeds during the recent World Cup 2014 qualifying draw.

"I think the rankings are fake," said Cardiff City striker Earnshaw. "They don't tell the truth.

"It's a piece of paper that says we are in this position but if you look at the squad we are nowhere near that."

Earnshaw is a senior member of Speed's squad and the 30-year-old is one of a few players that remain in the Wales set-up from when they held a world ranking position of 52 in 2002.

Speed then skippered a side managed by Mark Hughes that narrowly failed to qualify for the 2004 European Championships, losing to Russia in a two-legged play-off.

Speed is now in charge of a Wales team that are already out of qualifying contention for the 2012 European Championship finals.

But Wednesday's friendly against Australia in Cardiff is the start of their preparations for a qualifying bid for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Wales are the lowest seeds in Group A where they are drawn together with Scotland, Croatia, Serbia, Belgium and Macedonia.

But Earnshaw dismisses the rankings valuation of a side that boasts players such as Craig Bellamy, Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey.

"I know they have to have them and put everybody into groups when they need to be drawn," said the 54-cap international.

"But they don't tell the truth about what is really going on.

"I think it's exaggerated but it's not something we need to think about.

"With everything that has gone on over a long period we have dropped down but if we come out against Australia, England and all these teams and we are a good side, and we play exciting football and score goals, that matters more than the rankings.

"We have good players, if you look at us on paper we have a lot of good players and a mix of experience and fresh faces.

"We're probably as good as a lot of the teams in our World Cup group like Croatia and Scotland. We have to fancy ourselves against everyone."

Wales have won just one of their last seven internationals but Earnshaw believes the Welsh should be buoyed after avoiding drawing big names such as Germany, Spain and Holland.

"Teams like Germany usually qualify," he said. "But we are not facing that type of side.

"We are playing teams that sometimes don't qualify for major tournaments.

"These are teams we would fancy our chances to beat more than Germany or Holland. We have a real determination."

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