Wales boss Gary Speed questions Fifa world ranking makeup

2012 European Championship Qualifing Group G - Wales v Montenegro

Venue:
Cardiff City Stadium
Date:
Friday, 2 September
Kick-off:
1945 BST
Coverage:
Full commentary on BBC Radio Wales, BBC Radio Cymru & online. Live text commentary online. Watch live on Sky Sports 2
Gary Speed
Gary Speed is Wales' most-capped outfield player with 85 internationals

Gary Speed insists the fact Northern Ireland are 58 places ahead of his Wales team illustrates why he takes no notice of the Fifa world rankings.

Speed's Wales side are at a record rankings low of 117th in the world.

But Northern Ireland are ranked 59th even though Nigel Worthington's men were beaten 2-0 by Wales in May.

"The game we played against them was so one-sided," said Wales boss Speed. "So how they can be there and us be where we are? It makes a mockery of them."

Wales' rankings high of 27 was in August 1993 when Terry Yorath's side - that included Ian Rush, Neville Southall, Mark Hughes and Kevin Ratcliffe - narrowly failed to qualify for 1994 World Cup.

Speed skippered Wales to 52 in the world in 2002 as Mark Hughes' men won their opening four Euro 2004 qualifiers including their memorable 2-1 triumph of Italy.

But after failing to qualify for the 2004 finals, Wales have subsequently slipped to below Iraq, Suriname and Haiti in the current Fifa list.

Wales have lost their first four Euro 2012 qualifiers - scoring just once - and have been defeated seven times in their last eight games.

And Speed said: "The players may be a little embarrassed.

"But at the same time they probably don't take too much notice of the rankings because if you look at the teams above us, then they are not the true reading.

"It is terrible but I like to look around the world to see who are ahead of us and I have a chuckle. But, at the same time, it is embarrassing.

"The rankings don't keep me up at night. I'm desperate to win games, getting the team right and getting ready for the 2014 World Cup qualifiers.

"I'm not desperate to improve the world rankings - if you win games, that happens naturally."

Speed feels a side that boasts players such as Craig Bellamy, Gareth Bale and Aaron Ramsey is better than their ranking position.

Wales will play Group G pace-setters Montenegro and England in a September double-header but the Welsh can no longer qualify for the 2012 European Championships.

Wales' win over Northern Ireland is their only victory in the last 12 months and Speed's men lost 2-1 to Australia, ranked 22 in the world, in their last friendly.

"If we had played someone else and won 3-0 would we have gone up in the rankings?" asked Speed.

"But that wouldn't help us in the long-term. We want to progress and playing stronger nations is the way to improve."

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