FIFA World Ranking system (2006–2018)

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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.

Contents

The system, like the previous ones, is extremely similar to that of a league, though with changes made to ensure that it is still representative of the teams' performance despite playing differing numbers of matches per annum, and the differing strength of opposition that teams have to face. The factors taken into account are as follows:

Teams' actual scores are a result of the average points gained over each calendar year; matches from the previous four years are considered, with more weight being given to recent ones.

Origin

The new rankings were compiled in response to criticism from the media. [1] Meetings were attended by FIFA staff and external experts and a large amount of research was conducted by this group, resulting in the new ranking system. [1] The new system was confirmed in Leipzig on 7 December 2005 by a committee of FIFA executives. Notable changes include the dropping of the home or away advantage and number of goals from the calculation, and the simplification of many aspects of the system.

International "A" matches

In October 2012, FIFA released a press circular defining what is considered to be an international "A" match.

For the purposes of the ranking, FIFA defines an international "A" match as a match between two FIFA members for which both members field their first representative team ("A" team).

The FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking is based on a list of all international "A" matches that are recognised by FIFA.

International "A" matches include matches played as part of the FIFA World Cup, FIFA World Cup qualifiers, FIFA Confederations Cup, continental final tournaments, continental qualifying competitions and international friendlies.

Jérôme Valcke, FIFA.com [2]

Win, draw or defeat

In previous years a complicated system of points allocation was used, depending on how strong the opponent was, and how large the loss margin, which allowed weaker losing teams to gain points when playing a much stronger opposition, if they managed to put up a decent match. With the new system, the points allocation is simpler: three points for a win, one point for a draw, and zero points for a loss, in line with most league systems around the world.

In the event of a match being decided by a penalty shootout, the winning team receives two points, and the losing team one point.

ResultPoints
Win (no penalty shootout)3
Win (penalty shootout)2
Draw1
Loss (penalty shootout)1
Loss (no penalty shootout)0

Until November 2012, in two-legged play-offs, if Team A lost the first leg 2 – 0, then matched the result in the return leg and won after a penalty shootout, it received two points. However, if Team A won the return leg by one goal only, being eliminated in the process, it received 3 points. [3] FIFA fixed this flaw starting with the November 2012 ranking. [4] [5]

Match status

Different matches have different importance to teams, and FIFA has tried to respect this by using a weighting system, where the most significant matches are in the World Cup finals, [6] and the lowest weighted are friendly matches. FIFA states that it wishes to recognise that friendlies are still important, since they make up half of the competitive matches counted in the rankings. [7] FIFA also stated, however, that it did not plan to make any adjustment for teams that qualify directly for major tournaments. [8] [9]

The match status multipliers are as follows:

Match statusMultiplier
Friendly match× 1.0
FIFA World Cup and Continental cup qualifiers× 2.5
Continental cup and Confederations Cup finals× 3.0
World Cup finals match× 4.0

Opponent strength

A win against a very highly ranked opponent is a considerably greater achievement than a win against a low-rated opponent, thus the strength of the opposing team is an important factor.

The new system uses an opposition strength factor based on team rankings. The previous system was based on points difference.

The formula used is:

with the exceptions that the team ranked #1 is given a multiplier of 2, and teams ranked 150th and below are assigned the minimum multiplier of 0.5.

The ranking position is taken from the opposition's ranking in the most recently published FIFA World Ranking before the match is included in the ranking calculation. [10]

The rankings published before July 2006 are purely historical and are not used for the new ranking calculation. Instead, FIFA went back as far as 1996 to apply the new formula and is using those new rankings for the current calculations. [11]

See the detailed break-down of point totals for teams from the top 20 in the October 2007 rankings. [12]

Regional strength

In addition to the opposition strength multiplier, FIFA considers the relative strength of entire confederations in the calculation. Each confederation is assigned a weighting between 0.85 and 1.0, based on the relative performance of the confederations in the last three World Cups. Their values are as follows: [13] [14] [15]

ConfederationAfter 2014 World CupAfter 2010 World CupAfter 2006 World CupUp to and including 2006 World Cup
UEFA (Europe)0.991.001.001.00
CONMEBOL (South America)1.001.000.981.00
CONCACAF (North and Central America and Caribbean)0.850.880.850.88
AFC (Asia)0.850.860.850.85
CAF (Africa)0.850.860.850.85
OFC (Oceania)0.850.850.850.85

The multiplier used in the calculation is the average of the regional strength weighting of the two teams:

FIFA changed the formula used to compute the confederation weightings after the 2010 FIFA World Cup without public announcement. [16] 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. [17]

The confederation weighting for AFC was increased in August 2011 from 0.85 to 0.86 [18] after a computer programmer found an error in FIFA's calculations. [16]

Assessment period

Matches played over the last four years (48 months) are included in the calculation, but there is a weighting to put more emphasis on recent results. Previously an eight-year period was used. The date weighting is as follows:

Date of matchMultiplier
Within the last 12 months× 1.0
12–24 months ago× 0.5
24–36 months ago× 0.3
36–48 months ago× 0.2

If a team exceeds the assessment period without playing a match, it is temporarily removed from the rankings, and is reinstated as soon as it plays a match again. The most recent team to be temporarily absent from the rankings is São Tomé and Príncipe (reinstated in November 2011, after having been removed in December 2007).

Ranking formula

The final ranking points figure for a single match is multiplied by 100 and rounded to the nearest whole number.

Results for all matches played in the year are averaged together (assuming at least five matches have been played). The average ranking points for the four previous years, weighted by their multiplier mentioned above, are added together to arrive at the final ranking points.

Examples

The following examples use these hypothetical teams and confederations, and assume the games are played within the last 12 months:

A friendly match is played between Amplistan and Bestrudia. Amplistan wins 2–1.

MatchTeamResult pointsMatch statusOpposition strengthRegional strengthRanking points
Amplistan vs. Bestrudia (friendly)
Result: 2–1
Amplistan
Bestrudia
3
0
1.0
1.0
0.50
1.98
0.94
0.94
141
0

Bestrudia gets no ranking points because it lost the game, so all factors are multiplied by zero.

Amplistan's 141 ranking points are calculated like this:

More examples:

MatchTeamResult pointsMatch statusOpposition strengthRegional strengthRanking points
Amplistan vs. Bestrudia (friendly)
Result: 1–2
Amplistan
Bestrudia
0
3
1.0
1.0
0.50
1.98
0.94
0.94
0
558
Amplistan vs. Bestrudia (friendly)
Result: 1–1
Amplistan
Bestrudia
1
1
1.0
1.0
0.50
1.98
0.94
0.94
47
186
Amplistan vs. Bestrudia (World Cup finals)
Result: 2–1
Amplistan
Bestrudia
3
0
4.0
4.0
0.50
1.98
0.94
0.94
564
0
Amplistan vs. Bestrudia (World Cup finals)
Result: 1–1 (Bestrudia wins on penalties)
Amplistan
Bestrudia
1
2
4.0
4.0
0.50
1.98
0.94
0.94
188
1488
Amplistan vs. Conesto (friendly)
Result: 1–2
Amplistan
Conesto
0
3
1.0
1.0
1.61
1.98
0.99
0.99
0
588
Conesto vs. Delphiz (Continental cup qualifiers)
Result: 4–0
Conesto
Delphiz
3
0
2.5
2.5
1.70
1.61
0.96
0.96
1224
0
Conesto vs. Delphiz (Continental cup qualifiers)
Result: 0–1
Conesto
Delphiz
0
3
2.5
2.5
1.70
1.61
0.96
0.96
0
1159
Conesto vs. Amplistan (World Cup finals)
Result: 0–0 (Amplistan wins on penalties)
Conesto
Amplistan
1
2
4.0
4.0
1.98
1.61
0.99
0.99
784
1275

Conesto gets more points than Bestrudia for defeating the same team (Amplistan) because of the higher weighting of its confederation.

References

  1. 1 2 "FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking Procedure". FIFA. Retrieved 28 March 2008.
  2. "Circular no.1324" (PDF). FIFA.com. Retrieved 20 December 2012.
  3. "FIFA Ranking: Flaw in the calculation". Football-Rankings.info. 14 September 2009. Retrieved 9 October 2009.
  4. "FIFA Ranking: November 2012 differences". Football-Rankings.info. 9 November 2012. Retrieved 3 July 2013.
  5. "FIFA Ranking: Penalty shoot-out matches". Football-Rankings.info. 2 November 2012. Retrieved 3 July 2013.
  6. Finals is used in this sense to mean the 'final tournament' (as opposed to the qualifying tournament)
  7. "FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking: In focus" (PDF). FIFA. 7 July 2006. Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 June 2007. Retrieved 21 June 2007.
  8. "2006 revision of the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking: Frequently Asked Questions About the FIFA World Ranking" (PDF). Fédération Internationale de Football Association. Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 June 2007. Retrieved 21 June 2007.
  9. However, 2010 FIFA World Cup hosts South Africa competed in CAF qualifying despite automatically qualifying for the World Cup; this is because CAF chose to combine the 2010 World Cup qualifying tournament with the qualifiers for the 2010 African Cup of Nations, an event for which South Africa had to separately qualify. South Africa failed to qualify for the 2010 African Cup of Nations.
  10. "FIFA Rankings: September 2008 errors (II)". Football-rankings.info. Retrieved 2016-06-20.
  11. "FIFA miscalculated the rankings... or did they?". Football-rankings.info. 14 November 2007. Retrieved 23 June 2014.
  12. "Calculation FIFA Coca-Cola world ranking October 2007" (PDF). Retrieved 23 June 2014.
  13. "How are points calculated in the FIFA World Ranking?" (PDF). Retrieved 23 June 2014.
  14. "FIFA Fact Sheet : How are points calculated in the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking?" (PDF). Fifa.com. Retrieved 2016-06-20.
  15. "FIFA Fact Sheet : How are points calculated in the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking?" (PDF). Fifa.com. Retrieved 2016-06-20.
  16. 1 2 "Confederation weightings: One answer, more questions". Football-Rankings.info. 26 August 2011. Retrieved 26 August 2011.
  17. "Confederation weighting: Are the official values wrong". Football-Rankings.info. 11 August 2011. Retrieved 4 July 2014.
  18. "Dutch dethrone Spain, Uruguay rise". FIFA. 24 August 2011. Archived from the original on 25 September 2011. Retrieved 26 August 2011.

See also