Euro 2016: Wales focus on qualifying, not rankings - Williams

Ashley Williams
Ashley Williams has won 51 caps for Wales, scoring one goal

Captain Ashley Williams says Wales' rise to a new Fifa ranking high of ninth will not distract from their attempts to qualify for Euro 2016.

Wales' new ranking helped them earn top seed status and a reasonably favourable draw for 2018 World Cup qualifying.

But Swansea defender Williams, 30, insists the Group B leaders' focus is on reaching France next year.

"We don't want to get ahead of ourselves, but we've had such a good campaign so far," he said.

"We're the ones in the dressing room that need to keep our feet on the ground and understand where we are in this group."

Wales are currently three points clear of second-placed Belgium at the top of Group B, and five ahead of Israel and Cyprus in third and fourth respectively.

Chris Coleman's side face a double-header in September, visiting Cyprus on 3 September before hosting Israel three days later.

Wales' remaining euro 2016 fixtures
3 September v Cyprus (Nicosia, 19:45 BST)6 September v Israel (Cardiff, 17:00 BST)
10 October v Bosnia-Hercegovina (Zenica, 19:45 BST)13 October v Andorra (Cardiff, 19:45 BST)

If Bosnia-Hercegovina fail to win in Belgium and Wales win both their matches, Williams and his team-mates will be guaranteed qualification for Euro 2016.

"I can tell you first-hand they [Cyprus and Israel] are very dangerous so we know we have to be on our game and try to get the job done," said Williams.

On the domestic front, Williams believes the current Liberty Stadium squad is the best assembled in his seven years at the club.

Under manager Garry Monk, they finished in a record high of eighth place in the Premier League last season and began the new campaign with a draw at champions Chelsea at the weekend.

Williams said: "This is the strongest squad I've seen since I've been at Swansea and there really is two players in every position that could play and get the job done.

"I don't know if we can better it [eighth in 2014-15], but the aim has to always be to try and build on what we did last season so we'll be trying to do that."

He added: "I'm very proud of being the captain of Swansea City and Wales.

"It's a real good time for both teams. I'm grateful for that and want to keep it going."

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