Fifa rankings: Northern Ireland leap 28 places to 43rd spot

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Northern Ireland manager Michael O'Neill

Northern Ireland have risen 28 places in the Fifa rankings to 43rd position after their latest Euro 2016 qualifying wins over the Faroe Islands and Greece.

As recently as August, Northern Ireland were 95th in the rankings.

Northern Ireland are now 18 places above the Republic of Ireland, who move up one position to 61st helped by their surprise 1-1 draw in Germany.

England drop two places to 20th with Wales down five spots to 34th and Scotland dropping eight places to 37th.

Wales rose to their highest ranking for 20 years in September after climbing 12 positions to join Scotland in joint 29th.

World champions Germany remain top, while Argentina and Colombia stay second and third.

World top 10 (compared to September rankings)
1- Germany (1)9- Portugal (11)
2- Argentina (2)10- Spain (8)
3- Colombia (3)Others
4- Belgium (5)20- England (18)
5- Netherlands (4)34- Wales (29)
6- Brazil (6)37- Scotland (29)
7- France (9)43- Northern Ireland (71)
8- Uruguay (7)61- Republic of Ireland (62)

Belgium move up one place to fourth - their highest ever ranking - with Netherlands dropping to fifth following their stuttering start to the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign.

Former world champions Spain have continued their slide from the summit they inhabited for so long, dropping another two places to 10th following their 2-1 defeat by Slovakia in the European qualifiers.

Northern Ireland's highest ever position in the rankings was 27th spot which they occupied in August 2007 and from April to June 2009.

Their lowest ranking was 129th which they plummeted to in September 2012 seven months into Michael O'Neill's reign.

However, the team's fortunes have turned around dramatically in recent months thanks to the qualifier Group F away wins in Hungary and Greece which came either side of the home victory over the Faroe Islands.

England's two-place drop comes despite the 5-0 win over San Marino and 1-0 victory in Estonia.

Scotland slide seven spots despite the 1-0 home win over Georgia and 2-2 draw in Poland.

Wales also took four points from their Group B fixtures earlier this month with the 0-0 home draw against Bosnia-Hercegovina followed by a 2-1 win over Cyprus.

While the Republic of Ireland did draw 1-1 in Germany, no ranking points were awarded for their earlier 7-0 win over Gibraltar as the British overseas territory has so far been unable to secure Fifa membership.

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