FIFA World rankings countries
Wales national team manager Chris Coleman has led his side to four wins in their last six games
Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere scored a brace against Slovenia in England's last outing
LATEST FIFA RANKINGS
1. Argentina - Total points: 1, 496
2. Germany - Total points: 1, 411
3. Belgium - Total points: 1, 244
4. Colombia - Total points: 1, 217
5. Holland - Total points: 12, 04
7. Portugal - Total points: 1, 177
8. Romania - Total points: 1, 166
9. England - Total points: 1, 157
10. Wales - Total points: 1, 155
But a run of eight competitive matches unbeaten, coupled with important victories over higher-placed sides, has seen Wales shoot up the global ladder. Bale has scored five times to send his country top of qualifying Group B for France next year and above the likes of Spain, Italy and Copa America winners Chile in the FIFA standings. No other nation has gained more points in the last calendar year than Wales.
'I'm extremely proud, ' said manager Coleman. 'It's fantastic for the team's efforts to be recognised along with those who have played an important role off the pitch, from the backroom staff to our brilliant fans. We've come a long way in a short space of time. It's up to us how long we stay there.
'The real achievement for us is obviously qualifying for France. We've put ourselves in a great position and now have to make sure we fulfil our potential.
'That's the kind of pressure you want. I've had the pressure of being at the other end of a group. People know we are a good team.'
The new rankings mean neither England nor Wales will be in the same Russia 2018 qualifying group as Germany, Holland, Spain, Belgium, Portugal, Romania or Croatia. There is a chance that either team could be drawn with Italy, who are only ranked 17th in the world. The draw takes place in St Petersburg on July 25 at 5pm.
England and Wales will both be among the top seeds for the 2018 World Cup qualifying competition after FIFA confirmed the procedure for the draw which takes place later this month.
Following FIFA's latest rankings, both sides will be kept apart from each other and from the other top-ranked European sides in the draw.
It also means neither England nor Wales will be in the same group as Germany, Holland, Spain, Belgium, Portugal, Romania or Croatia. There is a chance however that either team could be drawn with Italy, who are only ranked 17th in the world currently.
The preliminary draw for the 2018 World Cup, which is being hosted by Russia, takes place in St Petersburg on July 25 at 1700 BST. FIFA has confirmed the 52 European countries will be split into seven groups of six teams and two groups of five teams.