StanWorld News: 46 With a Bullet - Ireland Soar in Rankings
Following last week's thrilling last-gasp victory over classy San Marino, the Republic of Ireland shot up three places to 46th in the FIFA world rankings, released today.
The latest figures represent further vindication of Stephen Staunton's management of the team popularly known as Stan's Army, with the former Liverpool and Aston Villa full-back credited with rejuvenating the fortunes of the Irish international side in the wake of the disappointing conclusion to Brian Kerr's reign.
Staunton's team are riding high in third in their Euro 2008 qualification group, perfectly poised behind Germany and the Czech Republic. Those two heavyweights have been given good reason to peek nervously over their shoulders at the closing Irish, whose unbeaten run of three games has fuelled their rankings rocket.
The new FIFA rankings are one in the eye for Northern Ireland, who were victims of the boys in green's upward march, being leapfrogged by their cock-a-hoop southern neighbours back into 49th themselves. As recent conquerors of England and Spain, it is a measure of the progress of the Staunton revolution that the North have been brought to heel by Stan and his merry men.
The FIFA rankings are accepted as the only true reflection of the merits of international footballing nations. They use complicated mathematical logarithms to ascertain the positions of every footballing nation on earth. Looking at San Marino, for example, the devastating nature of their defeat to never-say-die Ireland last week saw them plummet from 195th place to 196th.
For anyone who takes the FIFA rankings seriously the message is clear: Ireland are on the up!