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FIFA rankings - why they are important and how to beat the system


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Curacao just defeated Antigua and Puerto Rico in the Caribbean Cup last week to qualify for the Gold Cup.  As a result they will be rocketing up 45 places in the world rankings to 77th ahead of Honduras, Guatemala, Haiti, El Salvador, and some nation called Canada.  We've fallen all the way to 14th in the region.

http://www.football-rankings.info/2016/10/fifa-ranking-october-2016-final-preview.html

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I was going to check the CONCACAF rankings today since all of our Gold Cup matches would be reflected in the July 1st update, but the page I had bookmarked for the men's national team rankings now giv

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On 10/16/2016 at 10:16 PM, CanadianSoccerFan said:

Curacao just defeated Antigua and Puerto Rico in the Caribbean Cup last week to qualify for the Gold Cup.  As a result they will be rocketing up 45 places in the world rankings to 77th ahead of Honduras, Guatemala, Haiti, El Salvador, and some nation called Canada.  We've fallen all the way to 14th in the region.

http://www.football-rankings.info/2016/10/fifa-ranking-october-2016-final-preview.html

Will we never learn?  We have been doing it all backwards. We have to stop giving our talent away to other nations like the Netherlands.  Curacao is successful by taking the Netherlands' talent.  Now this tiny island paradise has players in the Premiership and Eredivisie, and they are kicking our butts up and down the rankings. #captiethedutch

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On 10/16/2016 at 9:16 PM, CanadianSoccerFan said:

Curacao just defeated Antigua and Puerto Rico in the Caribbean Cup last week to qualify for the Gold Cup.  As a result they will be rocketing up 45 places in the world rankings to 77th ahead of Honduras, Guatemala, Haiti, El Salvador, and some nation called Canada.  We've fallen all the way to 14th in the region.

http://www.football-rankings.info/2016/10/fifa-ranking-october-2016-final-preview.html

These ranking are so ridiculous that it's hard to know where to start ... but that's the system we're in right now.  We need to make it a high priority to get ourselves qualifying matches for the GC or somehow have FIFA realize how crazy their system is. Does anyone remember a few years back Aruba rocketed past dozens of teams on the back of 1 win vs. a CONCACAF minnow (I can't remember who it was but it was a qualifying match, and Aruba had only played 1 match that year, I think, so their average points per match was fantastic!).

This has real implications because come next cycle, being highly ranked will give us an easier path.

Also, it won't get any better next month .. if we lose to South Korea, we drop substantially again.  I do think that this will likely be the bottom for us, however, since we will begin to shed the abysmal 2013 games after that.

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3 hours ago, Addona said:

These ranking are so ridiculous that it's hard to know where to start ... but that's the system we're in right now.  We need to make it a high priority to get ourselves qualifying matches for the GC or somehow have FIFA realize how crazy their system is.

Or for a start, we could maybe win a Gold Cup game for a change. The last 2 Gold Cups we finished bottom of our group, and the previous one to those (2011) the only team in our group that we finished ahead of wasn't a FIFA member.

There are problems with the rankings, but if you don't win games, your ranking will suffer no matter what the system is. I agree that we should have to qualify for the Gold Cup (ideally with proper, CONCACAF wide qualifying rather than regional based qualifying), but we have to sort out our game on the field.

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  • 8 months later...

I just played around with the ranking tool on FIFA's website. Here are the different scenarios for the group stage and how our matches against Costa Rica and Honduras will affect our points (not taking into account any knockout round games if we make it that far). And of course, our game against French Guiana has no bearing on FIFA ranking/points. First letter is the result against Costa Rica, second letter is the result against Honduras.

Current points: 331
LL: 293
LD: 326
DL: 337
DD: 370
LW: 391
WL: 426
DW: 435
WD: 459
WW: 524

So we need at least a draw vs Costa Rica, or a win vs Honduras to gain points from the group stage (note that a loss in the quarterfinals could still make us lose points overall).

I'd like to put down my vote for two wins please.

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1 hour ago, Blackjack15 said:

Can anyone here tell me exactly how the FIFA rankings actually work? How does Canada manage to move up for example, just win friendlies or do better at a major competition than the previous version?

Its an overly complex formula based on results of a national team in the past 4 years that churns out bullshit results

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4 hours ago, Blackjack15 said:

Can anyone here tell me exactly how the FIFA rankings actually work? How does Canada manage to move up for example, just win friendlies or do better at a major competition than the previous version?

If you want to know exactly how the rankings work, read this. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FIFA_World_Rankings#Current_calculation_method

If you want to the tl;dr version, every official national team game (between FIFA nations) has points up for grabs. The higher ranked the opponent, the more possible points you get for a win or a draw. A loss, regardless of who it is against gets you 0 points. Lose 1-0 to Brazil? 0 points. Lose 15-0 to San Marino? 0 points. Just to be clear, the score never matters, only the result (win, draw, or loss). Friendlies aren't worth as many points as competitive games (World Cup Qualifiers, World Cup, Continental qualifiers, Continental championships). I believe they then average the number of points per game over the last 12 months, and average the number of points per game for the 12 months previous to that, etc., going back 4 years. Each year has a different weighting, with more recent years being weighed heavier than less recent years.

There are other factors as well, some kind of region multiplier or something, but I don't really know or care exactly how that works.

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It's really not that complicated: find the mean points earned per game in 4 separate 12 month stretches going back 48 total months. Then, weight those 4 means according to: 100 for the most recent 12-month stretch, 50 for the previous 12-month stretch, then 30, and 20 for the two oldest 12-month stretches.  Make sense?

What people never seem to realize is that there are points dropping out of the calculation 48 months ago ... so the results of recent friendlies make a difference, but so do, say, WC or Gold Cup matches from 4 years ago ... not to mention matches that are shifting from weight 100 to weight 50, from 50 to 30, and 30 to 20 ...

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I was just reading a little bit about the regional multiplier and came across this.

"FIFA changed the formula used to compute the confederation weightings after the 2010 FIFA World Cup without public announcement.[39] Without this modification, UEFA's multiplier would have dropped for the first time below 1, with CONMEBOL remaining the only confederation with a multiplier of 1."

Sigh.

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OK, so we drew Costa Rica last night. So that trims some of the possible FIFA points options down.

Current points: 331
LL: 293
LD: 326

DL: 337
DD: 370
LW: 391
WL: 426

DW: 435
WD: 459
WW: 524

Just to get a sense, 435 points (our post group stage best case) at the moment is good enough for 79th in the rankings. That's up 21 spots.

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http://www.football365.com/news/how-wales-beat-the-fifa-rankings-system

This is an interesting read that helps understand the problems with the system. 

Friendlies have a lower points multiplier than official competitions. This reason alone is why Canada has such a low ranking. All other confederations as well as Caribbean and central American countries have v the benefit of regional qualifying tournaments to boost points. 

 

Unless Canada starts playing more qualifying games we will always be disadvantaged. It isn't a level playing field. 

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13 hours ago, baulderdash77 said:

So DD gets us 370 points so far this will put us back in the top 100, somewhere around 92 and counting.  

The biggest thing for us is to get more official matches.  Hopefully the Nations Cup will do that in future years.

Yes, 370 so far. If we lose our quarter-final we will end up with less. We will have to wait to see our opponent before we can see what the ranking points stakes are for the next match.

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Just checking points and the teams that beat Curacao both received over 1000 points for their wins.  Teams like Canada that beat non recognized teams, French Guiana and Martinique, receive nothing.  Yet another reason for Concacaf to ensure all teams in the competition are fifa sanctioned as it penalizes some teams with respect to the rankings for the next round of qualifying.

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1 hour ago, dsqpr said:

I know the FIFA Rankings matter but if I am looking at rankings to see where we REALLY stand in world football, I use the ELO rankings.

Yes, that may make some of us happy, but it is absolutely meaningless. 

It is like asking your blow-up plastic doll if she likes you, and she smiles back. So you think she does.

The only rating that matters is the one that affects seeding, that allows you to play vs. lesser rivals and not be an underdog. Basically, that makes it easier for you to qualify for WC and get results in Gold Cup. FIFA. Which explains the logic and realism of this thread, dsqpr, you have to beat the FIFA system and none other. 

Could you imagine a tennis player having to play qualifiers for tournaments, ranked 109, and his fans went around saying to everyone that  really, according to another more authentic ranking other than ATP, he was top 60? He'd be laughed off the court.

Folks should be clear about that by now, ELO is basically a way to stay deluded. Only Fifa matters.

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9 hours ago, dsqpr said:

Hey UT, wanna fight? Warning: I'm all warmed up!

I totally agree that only the FIFA rankings actually matter. However, it seems as though you agree that the ELO rankings are the ones that much more closely reflect reality. Which I think makes them much more interesting than the FIFA Rankings. 

More interesting....if your plastic girlfriend is more interesting than a real woman. ..then I'd agree.

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10 minutes ago, Unnamed Trialist said:

More interesting....if your plastic girlfriend is more interesting than a real woman. ..then I'd agree.

Having never experienced a plastic girlfriend, I may argue that they can be indeed more interesting... ;)

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