IRELAND’S FIFA RANKINGS freefall continues as Giovanni Trapattoni’s side dropped out of the world top 40, their lowest end-of-year position since 2006.
The Boys in Green are now on a par with Bolivia and Gabon after they slipped six places to 42nd in December.
This latest fall marks the end of a disappointing year, which started with Ireland in 22nd and looking forward to their first appearance at the European Championships since 1988.
The party quickly turned to pain as they lost all three of their group games in Poland, scoring one goal and conceding nine, and the nightmare continued with a record 6-1 home defeat in their autumn World Cup qualifier against Germany.
It is Ireland’s lowest ranking since April 2010, when they were 43rd.
As expected, reigning World and European champions Spain finish the year at number one, with Germany and Argentina unchanged at two and three.
Italy are fourth while Colombia jump up three places to break back into the world’s top five after more than a decade’s absence.
England, Portugal, Netherlands, Russia and Croatia complete the top 10 while five-time World Cup winners Brazil, who sacked manager Mano Menezez and reinstated Luiz Felipe Scolari last month, drop another five places to 18th.