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Saturday, August 20, 2005

France Slips In FIFA Rankings - What Does It All Mean

France have slipped to 9th equal in the latest FIFA world rankings after their performances in the World Cup qualifying campaign. Failure to beat the likes of the Republic of Ireland and an overperforming Israeli team has meant that this is their lowest standing since they won the '98 World Cup Finals.

This means that - at least in FIFA's eyes - France are now a worse team than England (who are 7th in the Aug 2005 list), which is debatable; and the USA - who now seem to be the 6th best football team in the world ! And this is the point I wanted to make...what kind of ranking system can result in the USA being rated as the 6th best team ? Better than Portugal, Italy and Germany ? Huh. This really doesn't make sense.

Reading through the
FIFA ranking system , it starts to become clear that the 'regional weighting' system actually isn't very weighted at all, allowing such mighty giants of international football as Iran and the USA to be ranked higher than Euro 2004 winners Greece and World Cup regulars like Sweden. Just take a look at that section of the ranking system and ask yourself this simple question: is the UEFA group really only fractionally more competitive than CONCAF - the group that includes the United States.

The question is, of course, do these rankings really matter ? Unfortunately, the answer is yes. These rankings form part of the basis for the seedings in the 2006 World Cup. I know the seedings are mainly based on performance in the last three world cups, but something as obviously flawed as the FIFA World rankings have any part to play ? The answer is clearly: NO.

posted by mark_s at 9:26 AM


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