Ireland have taken a dip in the latest Fifa World Rankings this month, despite not playing a game since the famous away victory over Austria last November.
The African Cup of Nations has been taking place over the past number of weeks, and Egypt have benefited hugely on the ranking table, jumping 12 places and leapfrogging Ireland in the process.
Ireland have fallen from their lofty perch of 23rd to a nonetheless respectable 25th.
Ranking positions are of huge importance when it comes to qualification group draws. Although Ireland were fourth seeds for the current World Cup group, they were given a favourable draw, being pitted against Wales, Serbia and Austria.
Martin O’Neill’s side currently sit at the summit of Group D. Third-placed Wales come to Dublin next month in what will be a tie of monstrous proportions.
Three points for Ireland would go a long way to ending Gareth Bale and Co.’s chances of automatic promotion, and put further daylight between themselves and the chasing Serbia and Austria.
O’Neill will not be too worried about the latest Fifa Rankings drop. If the Boys in Green book their ticket to Russia over the coming months, ranking points should look after themselves.