Giovanni Trapattoni's Republic of Ireland side have risen one place in the latest FIFA world rankings to 37th.
Ireland have not played since the 3-2 friendly defeat to Poland in November but benefit from a fall of three places by Ecuador.
European champions Spain remained top of the rankings following a quiet month for international football.
With few teams in action, the top 14 stayed unchanged as Spain stretched their spell at the top into a seventh month with Germany and Netherlands their nearest challengers.
World champions Italy are in fourth place ahead of South American powerhouses Brazil and Argentina.
England, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales remain unchanged in eighth, 33rd, 52nd and 60th places respectively.
Ireland's World Cup 2010 qualifying rivals Bulgaria dropped one place to 28th, while Cyprus remain in 94th.
FIFA RANKINGS - TOP TEN (previous positions in brackets):
1 (1) Spain
2 (2) Germany
3 (3) Netherlands
4 (4) Italy
5 (5) Brazil
6 (6) Argentina
7 (7) Croatia
8 (8) England
9 (9) Russia
10 (10) Turkey