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Who Are The Teams That Rank Above Ireland And How Did They Get There?

Who Are The Teams That Rank Above Ireland And How Did They Get There?
By Daryl Bolger
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So the FIFA rankings are out today and we've fallen again; down two places to 67th in the world. We now find ourselves 33 places behind Wales and 16 behind Northern Ireland, teams we would traditionally have been much stronger than. However, aside from our near neighbours there are of course a litany of weird and wonderful teams ranked ahead of us also.

Considering they're supposedly better than us, we decided to explore some of the countries who've left us in their wake and find out a bit more about them. Here are three of the lesser known teams that are above us.

United Arab Emirates - ranked 66th

The UAE, home to both Dubai and Abu Dhabi, caused a massive upset in this year's Asian Cup, reaching the Semi-Finals after beating powerhouse, and tournament favourites, Japan in the quarter finals. They lost 2-0 to eventual champions Australia in the semi-final before beating Iraq in the third place play-off. While they don't have many players playing in Europe, their clubs are usually strong contenders in the Asian Champions League. They also won the U19 AFC Championship in 2008.

The country is pumping huge sums into football; national airline's Emirates and Etihad sponsor multiple teams and stadiums across the world. With money to burn and international publicity to gain from a successful national team, expect them to improve going forward.

Cape Verde Islands - ranked 35th


The Islands are better known in the footballing world for their long lost sons rather than their actual football team. Henrik Larsson, Patrick Vieira, Gelson Fernandez and Nani are all amongst those who trace their roots to here.


The national side are enjoying a great period of success over the last while; reaching the quarter-finals of the Africa Cup of Nations in 2013 in their first appearance at the tournament. Then of course they had to go and spoil it all by getting thrown out of their World Cup qualifying campaign for fielding an ineligible player against Tunisia, in a match they won 2-0. More recent endeavours have not been as successful, finishing last in their 2015 Africa Cup Of Nations Group. For a nation of just 500,000, 11% of our own, just reaching the tournament twice running is incredibly impressive.

Congo DR - Ranked 46th


Another surprise package this year, the country reached the semi finals of the Africa Cup of Nations last month, losing to eventual winners, The Ivory Coast. They might consider themselves lucky however having drawn all of their group stage games to get to the quarter finals, a feat not unfamiliar to Irish fans.

Yannick Bolalise is their most well known player on these shores, most of the squad play inn Europe including Cedric Makaidi at Werder Bremen and Dieumerci Mbokani at Dynamo Kiev.

After their semi-final, the squad publicly thanks their O'Neill's jersey's for getting them there.

See Also: The Ireland FIFA World Rankings Hall Of Fame: When We Were Kings
See Also: The New FIFA World Rankings Make Grim Reading For Ireland

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