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Where should we be ranked?


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I feel our A squad would rank about #65, ahead of Cuba (#75). I think we are better than

Guatemala (#56), and could give the following countries a run for their money (with better

prep and referees): Honduras (#41),Jamaica (#42), T&T (#50), and Panama (#78). We can also

match up with Costa Rica (#21) as well.

But with a squad of players (like the one against Luxembourg), we got the placing we deserve

and have no choice but to build from there.

We can rationalize or dismiss these FIFA rankings. If USA is ahead of England, Portugal,

and Italy; or Japan ahead of Germany; it wouldn't be surprising that Canada (which hardly

plays) is ranked behind Cuba or Libya. We could be top 5 in CONCACAF, but we are where we are.

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Within CONCACAF, we should be (talent-wise) anywhere from #4 to #8, with the #3 position eventually within our sights.

To me, the region is a 10-team competition:

1 & 2: USA & Mexico

3: Costa Rica

4 to 8: Canada, Trinidad, Jamaica, Honduras & Guatemala

9 & 10: Cuba & Panama

According to the current FIFA rankings, that would put us anywhere between #41 (Honduras - 4th) and #75 (Cuba - 8th).

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In my opinion on talent alone, we are anywhere from between 3 and 5. Mexico and the US are miles ahead of everyone in talent, depth, and organisation and realistically no team can compete with these two over the middle to long term under the current conditions (that is not to say that they cannot be upset or for a short period of time everything clicks for a Costa Rica, or a Canada so that these sides are comparable but they/we will always struggle on the depth and preparation issue in compared to Mexico and the US).

When you compare us to Costa Rica, and more so Honduras, and Trinidad, I think we match up quite well. Talent wise, how many of those sides have so many players starting in top leagues abroad. As with all these sides, they lack depth and can be spoty in certain positions. The problem with us the last time around was lack of preperation. Although we have the talent now to compete and probably on that basis should be ranked 3 or 4 in our conference, our players our scattered and rarely played together. We don't have so much talent that we can overcome this and therefore, a well organised side who is familiar with themselves such as Guatemala (who in my opinion are quite poor) can beat us. Before the next World Cup Qualifying, we need alot of matches with our full team and most likely most of them in Europe. If players will not be able to commit, they will have to be dropped no matter how good they are as for us to qualify we certainly have the talent but we desperately need the familiarity to compete

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quote:Originally posted by Blue and White Army

Don't under-estimate Costa Rica. The Gold Cup victory may have been an aberration.

I don't think we ever underestimated the Ticos. But even at the last

Gold Cup, I wasn't that impressed with Costa Rica. They played

listless and their goal (PK) was atrocious. And that is with our B

team(no Stalteri, no Rad, no deVos, no de Guzman) and Kevin McKenna

was redcarded later on.

As for the Gold Cup 2003 win, that was with their World Cup squad

and I thought we were pretty even.

Based solely on results (especially their WCQ games against us),

they're better. Close, but no cigar.;)

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quote:Originally posted by redhat

I don't think that you can view the Gold Cup as a fair measuring stick anymore. The Ticos are the best example of this. If you look at their play versus Canada at GC versus WCQ ( especially in that game in Vancouver), can you honnestly say that they delivered a comparable level of quality and showed their true colours at the GC?

Its becomming clear that sides like CRC, who have made regular recent appearance at the WC, naturally begin to regard the GC with less and less prestige or significance. Its only normal when you start to look at things in the bigger picture and I am sure that Mex and the US have the same view. We, the fans, and the CSA cannot make the same mistake as we did in 2000 when we won the GC. At that time the coaching staff IMO really misread our prospects in WCQ based on the fact that we won the GC. As a result we went in WCQ with pretty much the same compliment of players and ignored some talent who would have been very valuable at that time. For example, we got cockey and thought that we didn't to woo Radzinski.

So lets not make the same mistake. Look at the GC as something a liitle more significant than friendlies. Not as a precusor to our fortunes and strenghts going into WCQ. Its a different ball game altogether and the GC cannot be looked up upon in the same view as the Euros, ANC or Copa America.

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While we can quibble about whether the criteria and weightings used in the calculations are right, the fact is they based on performance and not reputation. Nor are they based on the quality of players who happen hold citizenship in a country.

If it is felt that Canada is unjustly ranked, the real question should be why is our performance so far below expectations? In my opinion, the MNT is seriously underperforming at this point in time.

We often debate player selections on this board but I propose a different approach to illustrate our underperformance.

While we can debate where the USA should be ranked, I think most would consider a top-20 ranking as being fair. Consider how many Canadians (MNT eligible)you think would start for the USA in the 2006 WC if they were USA eligible. Who would be called onto the roster?

I know this is a hypothetical question; but, it does reflect how far our performance has been allowed to slip.

My list of certain starters

1. Paul Stalteri

2. Julian De Guzman

My list of certain squad players

1. Tomasz Radzinski (depending on the situation, might be a starter)

2. Atiba Hutchinson (might lack a little in experience but would offer something to the squad)

3. Jonathan De Guzman (note MNT eligible and would be well ahead of Adu)

4. Dwayne De Rosario (One of the best MLS players so a good fit)

5. Jason DeVos (Always need solid defenders and plays at a high level)

My list of possible WC pool players (players who might make the WC squad if they provided the right fit)

1. Iain Hume (has skill but would face competition)

2. Kevin McKenna (doing well in Germany and offers flexibility)

3. Daniel Imhof (solid defensive midfielder in Germany so he could fill a hole if there was one)

4. Tam Nsaliwa (same as Imhof, except in defence)

5. Jim Brennan (has solid experience at a high level play)

6. Michael Klukowski (injured but if he wasn't, he might actually be a certain squad member)

In compiling this list, I tried to be as objective as possible and looked strictly at level of club play and current success at MNT level was secondary but considered. Number of current caps is not considered. The beauty of this analysis is that the more names you add, the greater the underperformance issue becomes and if you think the list should be smaller, you also admit that we actually rank closer to where we are currently ranked than we think.

I suspect many will find issue with this list and some will consider that some names do not belong and others should be added. At the same time, I suspect some American board members would find my list to be a little optomistic and from a Canadian perspective. In doing this, I am not saying that we are equal to the USA in talent because we don't have the depth. But we should be a whole lot closer to them than we are.

Still in the end, it seems to be even more clear to me after looking at my list that our biggest problem is not the quality of our players. I am also not convinced that our biggest problem is money. The biggest issue that needs to be addressed asap is leadership. How that issue should be addressed is a topic of discussion unto itself.

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A good exercise and would pretty much agree with everything except JDVs' inclusion on a Bruce Arena squad. Maybe even McKenna (certainly not as a defender). As much to do with quality as style. Just can't see those two fitting in at all.

Keepers are noticably absent.

Think Arena would love to have Radz in the line up somewhere.

A good exercise. Anyway, maybe a little more squarely on topic,

I'm sure I overrate Canada quite consistantly. Maybe I do unrate CR, but I certainly feel nobody in CONCACAF south of Mexico should be troubling our squad in a halfways perfect world.

Bruce Arena is going to his 3rd World Cup with what's got to be over a 100 A-Friendlys and full internationals under his belt. And in part, their WC campain reflected this. We went into a WC campain with a virgin manager who to date has 2 victorys in official competitions. In a big part, our WC campain reflected this. Two very predictable results?

So agreed, leadership is wanting, will be wanting, and is nowhere in sight. Maybe there is real money there for a serious campain or attempt to raise Canada's profile. Don't know. But the MNT is certainly not a priority of the CSA and I think we can mostly agree on that.

So where dose that leave us rankings wise? Pretty much where we're at I guess. To expect more under the forseeable circumstances is a bit much.

Just my Christmas eve's eve sulk.

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Are any of you aware of any other alternatives to FIFA's rankings? I only know of these:

Elephant Rankings

Elo Ratings

The Elephant Rankings have Canada 46th (a bit high, in my opinion) and the Elo Ratings, which update with every match played, currently have Canada 67th, which seems about right.

Edit: Found another one.

Mark Ziaian

Has Canada at 76th. Also seems to have a hard-on for European teams with only Brazil and Argentina in the top 15 as non-European teams (USA 26th).

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