Joe Allen: Midfielder hails Wales progress in Fifa rankings

Joe Allen
Joe Allen joined Liverpool from Swansea City in 2012

Midfielder Joe Allen says a further rise up the world rankings will be a sign of how far Wales have progressed in a short space of time.

Wales' 1-0 Euro 2016 qualifying win over Belgium will see Chris Coleman's side enter the top 10 in the Fifa rankings for the first time.

It will also place Wales among the top seeds when the 2018 World Cup qualifying draw is made in July.

"I guess that marks how far we've come as a nation," Liverpool's Allen said.

"It's a great feeling when all the work you've put in over the last couple of weeks pays off."

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Wales manager Chris Coleman says Friday's Euro 2016 qualifying win over Belgium was the most enjoyable of his career.

Victory against the side ranked second in the world saw Wales return to the top of Group B and move closer to their first major finals since 1958.

Coleman's men were ranked 22nd, but the points gained from the win will see them climb the order under Fifa's coefficient system when the new rankings are published on 9 July.

Former Wales manager John Toshack, who handed Allen his debut in 2010, believes four points from four remaining qualifiers will be enough to seal their place at the Euro 2016 finals.

But Allen himself insists Wales have not set any targets ahead of September's double-header against Cyprus and Israel and the final two games against Bosnia-Hercegovina and Andorra in October.

"It's not something we've really focused on," Allen added.

"It's something that can be tempting at times but something that we won't let distract us.

"It's an old cliche but it's been a case of completely being focused on one game at a time and putting all that preparation and focus into those games.

"So far it's been good."

Allen will miss Wales' trip to Cyprus on 3 September because of suspension after picking up his third yellow card of the campaign against Belgium.

"The victory has obviously softened that blow but it's always disappointing to miss any games for Wales," Allen said.

"I always knew there was a danger [of getting booked] with the likes of Eden Hazard and Kevin De Bryune that can make it difficult for you.

"But the team performance carried us through and got a result. And on top of that the strength we've got in depth in this squad means we can go away to Cyprus and perform to these high levels."

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