|Top 20 rankings as of 7 December 2018|
|*Change from 28 September 2018|
|Complete rankings at FIFA.com|
The FIFA Women's World Rankings for football were introduced in 2003,with the first rankings published in March of that year, as a follow-on to the existing FIFA World Rankings for men. They attempt to compare the strength of internationally active women's national teams at any given time.
Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a team sport played with a spherical ball between two teams of eleven players. It is played by 250 million players in over 200 countries and dependencies, making it the world's most popular sport. The game is played on a rectangular field called a pitch with a goal at each end. The object of the game is to score by moving the ball beyond the goal line into the opposing goal.
The FIFA World Ranking is a ranking system for men's national teams in association football, currently led by Belgium. The teams of the member nations of FIFA, football's world governing body, are ranked based on their game results with the most successful teams being ranked highest. The rankings were introduced in December 1992, and eight teams have held the top position, of which Brazil have spent the longest ranked first.
The French women's national football team is directed by the French Football Federation (FFF). The team competes as a member of UEFA in various international football tournaments such as the FIFA Women's World Cup, UEFA Women's Euro, the Summer Olympics, and the Algarve Cup.
The Netherlands women's national football team is directed by the Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB), which is a member of UEFA and FIFA.
The FIFA Women's World Cup is an international football competition contested by the senior women's national teams of the members of Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the sport's international governing body. The competition has been held every four years since 1991, when the inaugural tournament, then called the FIFA Women's World Championship, was held in China.
The first two points result from the FIFA Women's World Rankings system being based on the Elo rating system adjusted for football; in 2018, FIFA modified the men's ranking system to similarly be based on Elo systems after continued criticism. FIFA considers the ratings for teams with fewer than 5 matches provisional and at the end of the list. Also any team that plays no matches for 18 months becomes unranked.
The Elo rating system is a method for calculating the relative skill levels of players in zero-sum games such as chess. It is named after its creator Arpad Elo, a Hungarian-American physics professor.
To date Germany and the United States have been the only two teams to have led the rankings. They have also held the top two spots in all but five releases, when Germany was ranked third: Norway was in second position in the first two rankings until Germany overtook them by winning the 2003 FIFA Women's World Cup, Brazil was ranked second in March and June 2009 until Germany won 2009 Euro and rejoined the top two, and England reached the #2 ranking in March 2018.
The Norway women's national football team is controlled by the Football Association of Norway. The team is former European, World and Olympic champions and thus one of the most successful national teams. The team has had less success since the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup.
The 2003 FIFA Women's World Cup, the fourth edition of the FIFA Women's World Cup, was held in the United States and won by Germany. They won their first women's world title and became the first country to win both men's and women's World Cup. The men's team had won the World Cup three times at the time.
The Brazil women's national football team played their first game on 22 July 1986 against the United States, losing 2–1.
The United States holds the record for the longest period being ranked first: almost 7 years, from March 2008 to December 2014.
In the latest rankings, action from Women's World Cup qualifying tournaments in UEFA and CONCACAF, as well as the 2018 Tournament of Nations, caused movement throughout the rankings, though three of the top five did not change. The United States (#1), Germany (#2), and Canada (#5) retained their positions while England (#3) and France (#4) swapped. Australia rose to #6 on a 33-point gain, the largest gain among any of the top 50 teams, though Uganda earned the most points of any team with 44.
The 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup qualification process decided all 24 teams which will play in the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup, with the hosts France qualifying automatically. It will be the eighth FIFA Women's World Cup, the quadrennial international women's football world championship tournament. The tournament will be the third to be hosted in Europe, after the 1995 FIFA Women's World Cup in Sweden and the 2011 FIFA Women's World Cup in Germany.
The European qualifying competition for the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup was a women's football competition that determined the eight UEFA teams joining the automatically qualified hosts France in the final tournament.
The 2018 CONCACAF Women's Championship qualification is a women's football competition which decides the participating teams of the 2018 CONCACAF Women's Championship.
The rankings are based on the following formulae:
|= The team rating after the match|
|= The team rating before the match|
|= , the weighted importance of the match|
|= The actual result of the match, see below|
|= The expected result of the match|
|= The scaled difference in rating points between the teams|
|= The opposing team's rating before the match|
|= The "home advantage" correction, see below|
|= A scaling factor, see below|
|= The "Match Importance Factor", see below|
The average points of all teams are about 1300 points. The top nations usually exceed 2000 points. In order to be ranked, a team must have played at least 5 matches against officially ranked teams, and have not been inactive for more than 18 months. Even if teams are not officially ranked, their points rating is kept constant until they play their next match.
The main component of the actual result is whether the team wins, loses, or draws, but goal difference is also taken into account.
If the match results in a winner and loser, the loser is awarded a percentage given by the accompanying table, with the result always less than or equal to 20% (for goal differences greater than zero). The result is based on the goal difference and the number of goals they scored. The remaining percentage points are awarded to the winner. For example, a 2–1 match has the result awarded 84%–16% respectively, a 4–3 match has the result awarded 82%–18%, and an 8–3 match has the result awarded 96.2%–3.8%. As such, it is possible for a team to lose points even if they win a match, assuming they did not "win by enough".
If the match ends in a draw the teams are awarded the same result, but the number depends on the goals scored so the results will not necessarily add up to 100%. For example, a 0–0 draws earns both teams 47% each, a 1–1 draw earns 50% each, and a 4–4 draw earns 52.5% each.
The following is from a non-winning perspective (loss or draw). The factor for the winning team adds up to 100.
by non winning team
|Actual result (percentage)|
And from a winning perspective.
by losing team
|Actual result (percentage)|
Historically, home teams earn 66% of the points available to them, with away teams earning the other 34%. To account for this, when two teams are not playing on neutral ground, the home team has its inflated by 100 points for the purposes of calculation. That is, if two equally ranked teams playing at one team's home ground, the home team would be expected to win at the same rate a team playing on neutral ground with a 100-point advantage. This 100 point difference corresponds to a 64%–36% advantage in terms of expected result.
This also helps define the scaling constant , which has a value of 200. In addition to a 100-point difference causing an expected result difference of 64%–36%, it also results in a 300-point difference causing expected results of 85%–15%.
|Match importance||Match importance|
|FIFA Women's World Cup match||4||60|
|Women's Olympic football tournament||4||60|
|FIFA Women's World Cup qualifier||3||45|
|Women's Olympic football qualifier||3||45|
|Women's Continental finals match||3||45|
|Women's Continental qualifier||2||30|
|Women's friendly match between two Top 10 teams||2||30|
|Women's friendly match||1||15|
Rankings are published four times a year, usually on a Friday.
|2018 Rankings schedule|
The Latvia national football team represents the country in international football competitions, such as the World Cup and the European Championships. It is controlled by the Latvian Football Federation, the governing body for football in Latvia. They have never qualified for the World Cup, but they have, however, qualified for the European Championship in 2004, under Aleksandrs Starkovs.
The New Zealand national football team represents New Zealand in international association football. The team is controlled by the governing body for football in New Zealand New Zealand Football (NZF), which is currently a member of the Oceania Football Confederation (OFC). The team's official nickname is the All Whites. New Zealand is a five-time OFC champion. The team represented New Zealand at the FIFA World Cup tournaments in 1982 and 2010, and the FIFA Confederations Cup tournaments in 1999, 2003, 2009 and 2017. Because most New Zealand football clubs are semi-professional rather than fully professional, most professional New Zealand footballers play for clubs in English-speaking countries such as England, the United States and Australia.
The American Samoa national football team represents American Samoa in association football and is controlled by the Football Federation American Samoa, the governing body of the sport in the territory. American Samoa's home ground is Veterans Memorial Stadium in Pago Pago and their head coach is Larry Mana'o.
The Nicaragua national football team is controlled by the Nicaraguan Football Federation. Nicaragua achieved its first qualification to a major international competition in 2009, when it qualified for the 2009 Gold Cup as the last entrant from Central America, after a 2–0 win over Guatemala of the fifth place match in the 2009 Nations Cup.
The Papua New Guinea national football team is the national team of Papua New Guinea and is controlled by the Papua New Guinea Football Association. Its nickname is the Kapuls, which is Tok Pisin for Cuscus.
The Botswana national football team, nicknamed 'The Zebras' is the national football team of Botswana and is controlled by the Botswana Football Association. They have never qualified for the World Cup but they did qualify for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations for the first time in their history.
The Cayman Islands national football team is the national team of the Cayman Islands, and is controlled by the Cayman Islands Football Association. It is a member of FIFA and CONCACAF. Cayman Islands' home ground is Truman Bodden Stadium in George Town, and their head coach is Chandler Gonzalez.
The New Caledonia national football team is the national team of New Caledonia and is controlled by the Fédération Calédonienne de Football. Although they were only admitted to FIFA in 2004, they have been participating in the OFC Nations Cup since its inception. They have been one of this relatively small region's strongest teams, finishing second in 2008 and 2012, and third in 1973 and 1980. They were the top ranked OFC nation at number 95 in September 2008, making them only the fourth country from the confederation to have reached the global top 100.
The Cook Islands national football team is the national team of the Cook Islands and is controlled by the Cook Islands Football Association. With a population of around 18,000 people it remains one of the smallest FIFA teams.
The Central African Republic national football team, nicknamed Les Fauves, is the national team of the Central African Republic and is controlled by the Central African Football Federation. They are a member of CAF. Despite being traditionally one of the weakest teams in Africa and the world, they recently achieved success. They won the 2009 CEMAC Cup by beating Gabon in the semi-finals and Equatorial Guinea in the final 3–0. Their FIFA ranking rose from 202nd in August 2010 to 89th by July 2011. On 10 October 2010, they earned a shock 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier win at home against Algeria 2–0, which put them top of their qualification group. The team won its first FIFA World Cup qualifier on 2 June 2012 after beating Botswana 2–0 at home.
The São Tomé and Príncipe national football team is the national association football team of São Tomé and Príncipe and is controlled by the São Toméan Football Federation. It is a member of the Confederation of African Football (CAF) and FIFA.
The Cambodia national football team is the national team of the Kingdom of Cambodia and is controlled by the Football Federation of Cambodia (FFC). It was known as the Khmer Republic national football team from 1970 to 1975. It finished fourth in the 1972 Asian Cup. The team was founded in 1933 and joined FIFA's ranks in 1953. One of Cambodia's best players was Hok Sochetra. Earlier in the decade he was considered one of the top 2 strikers in South East Asia along with Kiatisuk Senamuang from Thailand. In 1997, Hok Sochetra won the best player award in Southeast Asia – the Golden Ball from Sanyo.
The Laos national football team is the men's national football team that represents the Lao People's Democratic Republic.
The FIFA men's ranking system 1999–2006 is a calculation technique previously used by FIFA for ranking men's national teams in football (soccer). The ranking system was introduced by FIFA in 1999, as an update to an earlier system, and was replaced after the 2006 World Cup with a simplified system.
The Macedonia women's national football team represents the Republic of Macedonia in international football. The team is controlled by the Football Federation of Macedonia, the governing body for football in the country.
The Bhutan national women's football team represents Bhutan in international women's football. The team is controlled by the governing body for football in Bhutan, the Bhutan Football Federation, which is currently a member of the Asian Football Federation and the regional body the South Asian Football Federation. Bhutan play their home games at the national stadium, Changlimithang. It is one of the younger national teams in the world having played its first match in 2010. Bhutan took part in the 2014 SAFF Women's Championship in Islamabad, Pakistan at the end of 2014, losing all three games, including a 4-1 loss to host Pakistan in which Tshering Yangdon scored just the second official goal in the team's history.
The FIFA men's ranking system 2006–2018 is a calculation technique previously used by FIFA for ranking men's national teams in football. The ranking system was introduced by FIFA after the 2006 FIFA World Cup, as an update to an earlier system, and was replaced after the 2018 World Cup with a revised Elo-based system.
The World Football Elo Ratings is a ranking system for men's national association football teams that is published by the website eloratings.net. It is based on the Elo rating system but includes modifications to take various football-specific variables into account, like the margin of victory, importance of a match, and home field advantage. Other implementations of the Elo rating system are possible and there is no single nor any official Elo ranking for football teams.