Wales will move higher than their richer rivals and neighbours England when the new FIFA rankings are announced after Euro 2016, the first sign for what, many predict, will be a bright future after they made history at the tournament.
Playing in their first finals since 1958, the Welsh reached the last four of a major tournament for the first time and are expected to move up close to the top 10 countries in the world rankings.
Playmaker Gareth Bale is among those who believes the success story will continue, especially since many of the players who lost 2-0 to Portugal in the semi-finals are coming into their prime.
“We can be a better side from it. We’ve grown in confidence, we’ve grown in stature and I think we’ll be more respected,” he said. “We can hold our heads high and give it a right go again.
“Our hunger is there more than ever to get back (to major tournaments). It hurts now but we’ve enjoyed it and we feel there’s still a lot more to come.”
“There’s more improvements from us and come the World Cup qualifiers – which are not too far away – we’ll get back to working hard and doing what we do best.”
Age is on their side. Bale and midfielder Joe Allen are 26 and the talented Aaron Ramsey is a year younger at 25. Defenders Neil Taylor and James Chester are 27 while Ben Davies, also at the back, is only 23.
More seasoned campaigners captain Ashley Williams (31) and midfielder Joe Ledley and goalkeeper Wayne Hennessey (both 29) will also be around for the 2018 World Cup campaign which begins in September.
The Welsh have been drawn in a group which includes fellow Euro 2016 finalists Austria and Ireland, plus Georgia, Serbia and Moldova.