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Jan 21 16 9:52 AM

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Not even an article, but only a message. Is this the beginning of a better Nicaraguan NT? Jonge sporters in Nicaragia kiezen steeds vaker voor voetbal means: In Nicaragua young sportsmen are choosing footbal more often.


Last Edited By: nfm24 Oct 9 16 10:46 AM. Edited 1 time

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#1 [url]

Jan 21 16 11:47 AM

the better NT is already a fact and this can explain it.....the results of the last years are much better then 20 years ago


is their Baseball team getting weaker?

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#3 [url]

Jan 22 16 12:15 AM

Pieter’s ranking (‘in his head…’) works! Nicaragua is nowadays 1½ tiers better than 20 years ago. The lower tier (marked by a black bar) is roughly equivalent to a topamateur’ tier.
An enormous boost, however, was noted only recently (in Jamaica 3-2, Trinidad & Tobago away 0-0, Cuba 5-0 and 1-0 …, really good results – some years agosuch a series’ was unimaginable).

Some notes:
Nicaragua played many years almost exclusively (with a few exceptions) against UNCAF members. With the exception of Belize all these teams were much stronger. If you was thrashed again and again, it is difficult to change this, even if you have made progress (your experiences affect the future outcome ...)

An upswing can have completely different causes.
Dominican Republic: 2011–13 a boost (1 full level), 2014 consolidation, 2015 significantly down… In such a case it is more likely that they had only ‘a golden series’…

In the past we saw massive upswings e.g. in the case of Oman. In this case it was due to significant structural changes. Chile, Colombia and Ecuador: their massive upswings in the last years were also due to structural changes (changes in world football).

I think it is too early to say, by what the upswing of Nicaragua was caused. But – to assume a structural change seems very reasonable.nicaragua.png 

 General note: with one exception (1952) 'year' (on x-axis) is always identical with the end of a season (31st July). I'm not a bureaucrat: the final of the 1952 Olympics took place on August 2nd. Therefore, this exception…

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#4 [url]

Jan 22 16 6:38 PM

I wonder which is the team which had the greatest "epiphany", i.e. after years or decades of mediocrity, to suddenly raise the level dramatically and remain there consistently?

The Philippines springs to mind.

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#9 [url]

Jan 23 16 6:07 PM

Iceland became gradually stronger, but Cyprus might also be an option. Look at their pre 1992 and post 1992 results. Greece have made the same kind of progress (until 2014) as Norway and Turkey did.May be ctr ca make a diagram from 1992 onwards to compare these 5 nations.

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#10 [url]

Jan 23 16 6:14 PM

ctr wrote:


I think it is too early to say, by what the upswing of Nicaragua was caused. But – to assume a structural change seems very reasonable.


I think the upswing must last for at least 10-12 years, the time a NT can take advantage of a generation of good players. If a NT can consolidate their progress, this will say most of the next generation players are able to substitute te likes who will retire.

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#11 [url]

Jan 27 16 1:52 AM

nfm24 wrote:
I wonder which is the team which had the greatest "epiphany", i.e. after years or decades of mediocrity, to suddenly raise the level dramatically and remain there consistently?
The Philippines springs to mind.


I wonder why (almost) always the ‘right things’ jump into your mind?

diagram 1asia.png


For a very long period The Philippines were always about on the same “level” (amateurs, level 2, trend: level 3). But then …
I think there is not really a parallel in history. Kaizeler mentioned Guam. Yes, Guam had a similar increase (several tiers in a short time). The differences: a) consistency b) the duration of the ‘period of mediocrity’.

The diagram contains some other countries. Let me explain why?
Of course, there is (was) a development in football. “Developments” (especially with a tendency to saturation) in general can be described as follows

diagram 2assumed_developm.png


The S-shape (sigmoid shape) is characteristically. Of course, there is a problem: how to scale the function in terms of time and level? (Is the overall development limited by the green dots? …Or the red ones? …Or what?) But I think a reasonable ‘solution’ is possible.
BTW, this ‘solution’ has no decisive impact to the rating scores or the rankings; but I think it is helpful for a better understanding…

Oman represent a ‘classical development’ (some years standstill → gradual and continuous improvement → given potential reached roughly...)
India and Taiwan represent those that evolve and develop and will never be developed.
Japan’s curve shows a
repeatedly interrupted development or perhaps ‘two developments’ …

The green line separates basically amateurs from professionals (but selections of amateur teams or absolute top amateur teams can be viewed as one level above green line).


Fast Midfielder wrote:
How about Afghanistan?

diagram 3saff_en_a.png


This diagram was on my website for a preview of the SAFF Championships. In fact, Afghanistan improved enormously in recent years; from No. 7 to No. 1 in the region. Increase: slightly above 1 level (not really comparable with The Philippines or Guam). The classification as a top amateur team is realistic. Afghanistan is a kind of “exile team”. Because of the history, a lot of players playing in German clubs in respective leagues.


Kaizeler wrote:
Guam, admittedly. In a regional context, also Venezuela.

diagram 4s_america.png


You are right, of course. Why contains the diagram Norway? Norway is a counter-example for developments. The curves of Chile, Colombia and Ecuador reflect a relatively new ‘phenomenon’ in international football. The usual development was actually finished ... Due to the structural change of world football but there was (is) a second development phase.
Teams with players from European top leagues and/or top clubs increase their level again (partially considerably). The level falls, if a team has in a specific period no or a few of such player.

Norway is included because I had prepared some diagrams. One of them included Norway and Turkey …


nfm24 wrote:
In Europe, perhaps Norway or Turkey

It seems to me, Neil is not undermining only…, he also captured my computer smiley: roll

diagram 5long-term_trends.png


The diagram shows different things:
Oman and Qatar represent the “classical developments”. BTW: Saudi-Arabia, Iraq or Kuwait are nowadays on a comparable level. It seems that all of them had reached their “given potential”.
But developments did not run parallel.
The same we see in Europe: Scotland was much earlier "developed" than Turkey or Norway. In the last 40 years there was no fundamental change.
Of course there were along the general level individual ups and downs.
Turkey “slept” from 1958–94. Suddenly they woke up…
Norway is much smaller than Turkey. In their “amateur period” therefore they were slightly weaker. The upswing (due to professionalization) began earlier and resulted in a long-term-upswing.



Pieter wrote:
Iceland?


diagram 6
iceland.png

Three interesting comparisons:
Austria was much earlier "fully developed". (We must also take into consideration that there are different degrees of professionalization). Up to the early 1970s, Iceland was playing with amateurs. Amateurs play at the level of amateurs (in Southeast Asia perhaps one must consider physical conditions of players). The upswings (see diagram 2) appeared on different periods.
At the beginning of a fundamental change in world football, all three teams couldn’t keep their level. It was the time Pieter could live in full harmony … smiley: wink Usually he supports the weaker team … For many years he could support Belgium and the weaker team at the same time.
All three teams then had a second boom, because many of their players played in top leagues. The development of these three teams is similar to Chile, Colombia and Ecuador …


Fast Midfielder wrote:
Iceland became gradually stronger, but Cyprus might also be an option. Look at their pre 1992 and post 1992 results. Greece have made the same kind of progress (until 2014) as Norway and Turkey did. May be ctr can make a diagram from 1992 onwards to compare these 5 nations.


“Iceland became gradually stronger” is right until 2002. But – additionally there was a boost in the most recent years. So, the development of Iceland is very remarkable.

I had also “prepared” a diagram before you sent your post. I take it on at this point because the graph of Luxembourg is very interesting.
diagram 7
greece_cyprus.png


Instead a diagram of 1992 onwards I deliver a diagram from 1970 onwards.

diagram 8for_perry.png
You are right. The upswing of Cyprus (after 1992) was faster (compared to Iceland). Greece, Norway and Turkey were on their way to their “potential” which was about the same level. The upswing of Norway took place fastest.
If Neil would feel confirmed by the graph, he would have very good arguments

But it is impossible that he – or anyone else – could feel confirmed … (by a model which does not consider goal differences). smiley: wink Actually all in this forum could feel confirmed.

I have tried to show that many aspects are important; at least to create hypothesis.

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#12 [url]

Jan 27 16 8:42 PM

> I wonder why (almost) always the ‘right things’ jump into your mind?

It must be a birth defect, or perhaps just experience from working as a lecturer (only ask questions to which you already know the answers)... If I may reciprocate with the appreciation, your work is a very impressive analysis.  As ever, your reward is to suffer more questions :-)


> If Neil would feel confirmed by the graph, he would have very good arguments

We can discuss the arguments or reasons also below - it's good to see numerical data which backs up my initial naive hunch-based pondering during a coffee break.  Of course, I ignore any data which does not (to do otherwise involves thinking too hard!).

Some of the reasons for changing of level have been discussed already, e.g. professionalism, modern coaching (basically the same), a "good generation", which nowadays means many players in top Euro leagues (or improved access to diaspora players), more participation (e.g. regularity of fixtures provided by confederation), and also of course some non-football-related changes to the country.


About Europe:

Norway and Turkey were late developers in football, but the Turkish epiphany happened much more suddenly, they went from average strugglers to twice semi-finalists within a single decade.  Norway went from below-average strugglers to regular qualifiers, a similar leap.
Greece were also late developers but made steady progress more gradually overall, although in the graph from about 1994 to 2004 there looks a similar sudden leap (as Turkey), but remember in 1994 Greece were World Cup finalists (so the level wasn't too bad in 1993).  Cyprus had quite a sudden jump, but the size of the jump was not as large as (say) Iceland.  Cyprus went from minnows to average, whereas Iceland went from minnows to qualifiers.

Norway's "sudden" improvement is often put down to the Egil Olsen period (1990-98), but your graph shows that this was only the second climb - the first climb being from about 1976-87.  Olsen was able to kick on again, perhaps a sort of double improvement (but maybe this would have happened anyway due to increasing professionalism) - the reason Olsen gets the credit is because he improved them enough to *qualify*, which makes all the difference to perception of these things looking backwards (as most people except us nerds don't look at graphs).

Similarly to Norway and Egil Olsen, I also thought about the Republic of Ireland in Jack Charlton's era, and also Denmark in 1980s-2000 (or perhaps even Switzerland under Hodgson), but then I rejected these cases as lower-order epiphanies: they only improved by enough to qualify, which again makes it seem more of a leap than it actually was.  Similarly Bosnia in recent years. These teams weren't so terrible to start with, they just managed to finally graduate...  The key with Norway and Turkey is how poor they were before the sudden leap.  

Though thinking again, perhaps Denmark would be an interesting graph to see, if I give back your computer first.  There we have a team which had its leap but then fell back a bit since.  There may also be other teams which have experienced strong oscillations - this wasn't quite my original question, but is interesting nevertheless - for Europe I'm thinking maybe Northern Ireland and Wales, both capable of sudden dramatic changes in level.

On a smaller scale of leap (within the upper echelons), France weren't up to much before the 1980s.  Their curve could look interesting compared to the teams of the same level now.

I find the Belgium/Austria/Iceland graph very interesting indeed.  The simultaneous trough around 2002-2010 is very clear (Austria's steeper decline perhaps due to lack of competitive fixtures up to 2008).


About non-Europe:

Japan's curve perhaps answers another question about the team with the greatest consistent improvement over many decades (even if it is not always monotonic), or maybe the most multi-faceted improvement.  USA might show something similar overall, but for long periods they stagnated.  To some extent this question favours teams which were severely underperforming to begin with, and then began to embrace football to a gradually increasing extent.  Australia could be another, or generally countries where football is not the leading sport. 

Afghanistan's leap was more sudden but smaller in scale than the Maldives 1997-2013, and also the Maldives were not able to call on diaspora players in the same way as Afghanistan.  Perhaps the AFC should get some credit for reacting to the minnow thrashings in the 1998 WCQ and changing the setup a bit.  However although some AFC minnows have improved, the mid-low teams (e.g. Malaysia, Indonesia) have really gone downhill.

The Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela graphs show how growth is "switched on" in different eras even for neighbouring countries.  Panama would be slightly later again.  The second development phase is interesting.  Before 1996 these countries didn't have regular competitive fixtures (as European teams did) but since then Conmebol introduced the 10 team league for qualifiers.  This change is often cited by "experts" as a reason for the current strength of South American teams - but it is interesting that the effect since 1996 is very clear for Venezuela but not so much for the others.   Both Colombia and Chile saw the end of a good generation of players around that time, which seems to have delayed the development for them; or perhaps they just suffered from the improvement of others around them.  And then as you say, the most recent years seem to coincide with a rise in key players at strong clubs in Europe.  

Thinking about epiphanies in other continents:

In Africa, Cape Verde and Equatorial Guinea became contenders in a short period, for obvious reasons.  
Further back, smaller scale epiphanies may be:
. Cameroon, not much good in the 1970s but consistently leaders in 1980s-2000s.
. Libya early 1980s, although they weren't really that bad previously (they just always had an impossible route in qualifiers against stronger neighbours)
. Senegal were long term underachievers before 2002.

In CONCACAF:
. perhaps Jamaica, pretty poor before 1998, decent since.
. Trinidad similarly but earlier.
. Panama more recently
For smaller islands the effects may be largely noise due to lack of regular action.

Perhaps we can gauge a sense of the overall development of confederations (or subsets thereof) by taking a weighted average in a region. 
Maybe we could even deduce which officials (corrupt or otherwise) had the best impact on their region's strength as a whole...


Other questions we could consider, with my guess at some answers:  (welcome suggestions)

Teams showing consistent "negative development" over a long period:
. Taiwan
. Burma
. Malaysia & Indonesia
. Ethiopia & Sudan
. Hungary, Peru

Teams with a rise and fall
. Poland (1974-82) & Bulgaria (1994-96)
. Guinea (1970s), China (1980s), Saudi (1990s)
. Bolivia, Paraguay, Peru

Fall and rise
. Mali, Uganda
. Uruguay
. New Zealand
. Northern Ireland, Wales
. USA if we look back far enough!

Teams with erratic graphs (possibly):
.Fiji, Tahiti
.Israel

Teams "born fully developed":
(not counting countries which were components of others e.g. former Yugoslavia, USSR)
.North Korea
.South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia
.Faroe Islands and Gibraltar


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#14 [url]

Jun 6 16 4:25 PM

Here we see a rather dumbed down but broadly similar analysis of "big" teams:
http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/36387046

Amazing that Uruguay 1924-30 is not considered... maybe they don't count Olympic matches.

It's also interesting that the authors interpreted the wild oscillations in their results as some sort of inherent problem of the universe, rather than as a flaw in their model. This sort of pseudo-science is normally associated with medical research.

Anyway, it might at least amuse you for two minutes during coffee, which is probably the limit of the ambition of the article anyhow.

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#15 [url]

Jun 6 16 7:45 PM

From the charts it seems that only results after ~1945 were considered, for some reason.

I also don't really understand how (in the second-from-last chart) Spain seem to be playing today at just about the same level Hungary was ten years ago. Perhaps SAM doubles as a seismograph in its spare times...

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#16 [url]

Jun 6 16 11:22 PM

Kaizeler wrote:
From the charts it seems that only results after ~1945 were considered, for some reason.

Probably the pre-war matches were ignored due to the academic embarrassment caused by implausible results e.g. Scotland dominating the rankings, which would just confuse a modern audience.  It is obviously an axiom of any such research project that the results must be fudged repeatedly until they begin to make some sense to the average web browsing yokel, or until the word "Brazil" appears sufficiently often.

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#19 [url]

Oct 6 16 2:54 AM

nfm24 wrote:
> As ever, your reward is to suffer more questions :-)

Well, I’m back again …
If there are no “final answers (conclusions)” it is at least important to ask the right questions ... So, thank you for your questions. Thanks also for ‘retranslating’ the graphs in words.
First, let me show a graph which refers to Fast Midfielder’s post on this topic (keyword: “Hungary v Netherlands”). If one take a look at the orange and green dots, it can be seen (roughly) a diagonal cross (X shape). The trend: a large backlog developed into a big lead; Hungary and The Netherlands exchanged (‘X‑changed’…) the levels... Fast Midfielder, you’re right!

BTW, we forgot to mention the Dutch NT … (1954 – 1978 about 3 levels…, net
1½ levels from 1968)

graph 11_ned_hun.png
Some notes:
The numeric values on the y-axis are basically ‘irrelevant’.
Measurable are merely the power intervals. A gap of 200 (points) is equivalent one level, defined as an interval ±1 normal distribution (Simply: a range ±1 = range 2 → multiplied by 100 to obtain manageable numbers). All gaps then can be embedded in a numerical framework.
In my preferred scaling, the respective top teams of the world always achieve a value of roughly 2800 (compare dots); >2800 can be ranked as a ‘natural candidate for World Champion’

But – the dots allow just a static view.
I think the assumption is reasonable that sixty years ago a top team played at a lower level than a top team today. So I combined the "static values" with a value based on a "(dynamic) function”. The gaps are not affected. I think, by combining two values many things are clarified by itself in a simple way.
The dots
show the strength, relative to the respective period; the curves represent an ‘estimate’ of the ‘absolute’ levels (from today's perspective).

What means ‘(dynamic) function’? Let me give an example to illustrate a characteristic profile of a (‘reasonable’) function. I have picked ‘the development of the world record in the triple jump’. Triple jump is one of the most complex sports which are 'absolutely measurable'; the outcome is less dependent by very few or individual factors (e.g. 'medical progress' smiley: wink).The second reason for my choice: possible ‘quantum leaps’ are considered in retrospect as a part of a (normal) development.
graph 2development_triple_jump.pngEach world record = 1 blue dot. Current WR = red dot.
From these few data points, ‘a function’ can be derived (red curve)…  Please, don't equate the figures for the years (for triple jump) with the development in football. The (red) curve, however, has the characteristic S‑shape.
Jonathan Edwards’ records can be regarded as ‘quantum leaps’.
The world record in the triple jump was on 03/02/2016 still 18.29 m – all graphics in this post refer to this date.
A ‘quantum leap’ is clearly not visible in the curve. I mention this in such detail because this is also valid vice versa.
World War II was certainly a turning point – at least in a temporal context, not necessarily causal. At the end of 1940s/early 1950s skyrocket the importance of international football. There was a kind of quantum leap.
From late 1930s to the end of 1940s there was a huge leap; depicting this by a curve would give the false impression that during WW2 was a significant development.

Of course, I can not provide a graph for each question. I have selected the most interesting ones.


> On a smaller scale of leap (within the upper echelons), France weren't up to much before the 1980s.Their curve could look interesting compared to the teams of the same level now.
graph 32_fra_etc.png
I was a little bit surprised when I saw the French graph …: in my memory there was no long-term upswing of France. Maybe I was a little biased… My brother, who could explain the universe, said in the 1960s: France play as ‘Camembert’ in the Cheese League; they play against Remoudou, Edam cheese, Emmental cheese and Havarti … (at that time all these teams were really – also relatively – much weaker than today).

On the other hand: I think it's usual to notice a change in the level only when it revealed in a competition. However, the curve shows a continuity of improvement, starting about 1970.


>Though thinking again, perhaps Denmark would be an interesting graph to see, if I give back your computer first. There we have a team which had its leap but then fell back a bit since.  There may also be other teams which have experienced strong oscillations - this wasn't quite my original question, but is interesting nevertheless - for Europe I'm thinking maybe Northern Ireland and Wales, both capable of sudden dramatic changes in level.

Northern Ireland plus Wales: complicated case may have to be considered separately. Basically, I agree. Both have no competitive home leagues. They are very highly reliant that their players can play in good clubs in other leagues. After the English top league became more and more internationalized, it has become increasingly difficult. The structural conditions for Northern Ireland, Wales, but also for Scotland, have become progressively worse; therefore a long-time standstill or even a decline. But - from time to time, favourable circumstances included ...
Considering the growing importance of the top leagues (in my view international football degenerates increasingly to a branch of the top leagues), we can expect that additionally other countries will be affected (or are alreadyaffected). The importance of national structures (in football) will decline, the imponderables (how many players from smaller countries will have access to top leagues – at any given time) will rise. An increase of erratic changes would be the consequence.


Denmark … or Norway? Sweden is added to complete Scandinavia.Incidentally, Sweden is a prime example of teams with strong oscillations and sudden dramatic changes in level
(in the past).
graph 4
3_scandinavia.png
The curve of Sweden is striking - very erratic, even at times that were less changeable. After a continuous upward in the 1980s a totally unexpected slump at the WC 1990, looks in retrospect less amazing. Analyzing the results of European leagues (plus UEFA competitions) for many years: the 'Swedish uncertainty factor' was also striking. (Actually I associate with Sweden more terms such as solidity, stability and pragmatic approach). For clubs I have found a plausible explanation…


DEN versus NOR: With the naked eye hardly recognizable whose leap was bigger – and in what period? Therefore
graph 5nor_den.png

The graph clarifies: the gap narrowed noticeably towards Norway. The ‘polynomial’ graph shows approximately three periods: a little closer to DK, constant distance (1982-87), accelerating convergence. The increase is in the case of Norway a bit bigger. Apart from a few episodes was Norway's leap consistently steeper in the trend.


> In CONCACAF: perhaps Jamaica, pretty poor before 1998, decent since. Trinidad similarly but earlier. Panama more recently
graph 6
4_jam_etc.pngAdded is Venezuela (somewhere else you asked for a comparison Venezuela / Panama). The chart is not in contrast to what you have written. But, I think it's interesting that four very different developments can be shown (therefore this diagram is included).

Trinidad & Tobago: Alow oscillations, slightly upward trend until 1986 – but actually a standstill; Bsharp increase to about 2000-01, afterwards strong oscillations
Jamaica: A – until 1986 a similar standstill but much more ups and downs; B – extremely sharp increase (in a relatively short time, two levels!), afterwards unsteady trend

We can not - here in this one post - discuss fully all possible reasons why something is the way it is. I can only mention key points and express some considerations. Assuming, T & T and Jamaica have managed to organize the inclusion of in Diaspora living professionals this would correspond to the diagram. A rapid rise is possible without internal structural changes within the country. If sometimes the professionals are not available → no adequate substitute is available… If you have to play with very different teams, strong oscillations are explainable.
It might be that the most important point is correctly described. But, actually exists in real life – in complex cases – rarely monocausality

Venezuela: A – until 1983
steadily slight increase, then a standstill until 1998. If you compare the red curve of graph 2 with Venezuela (1950-98), it looks like they would be (in the 1990s) at their ‘natural’ limit… But, what actually happened afterwards? B – Venezuela started a kind of second development – much brighter than ever before.

With a little imagination you can see the pattern of the S-shape at all three, in the case of Venezuela even twice (2nd S-shape, e.g. 1990-2016).


>
The second development phase is interesting.  Before 1996 these countries didn't have regular competitive fixtures (as European teams did) but since then Conmebol introduced the 10 team league for qualifiers.  This change is often cited by "experts" as a reason for the current strength of South American teams - but it is interesting that the effect since 1996 is very clear for Venezuela but not so much for the others.   Both Colombia and Chile saw the end of a good generation of players around that time, which seems to have delayed the development for them; or perhaps they just suffered from the improvement of others around them.  And then as you say, the most recent years seem to coincide with a rise in key players at strong clubs in Europe.

I think basically the ‘experts’ are right. But - explanatory patterns must be analyzed in detail in order to obtain a more differentiated view. I agree with your analytical considerations regarding Chile and Colombia. The temporary buckling of general trends (in the case of Colombia; more pronounced at Chile) was probably a mixture of all the causes that you’ve mentioned.

In respect of Venezuela but I'm not sure that the main reason of the 2nd development phase (amazing in its extent) was really the changing of the qualifying format. Well, the change of the format might have favored the motivation to start ‘activities’...
In terms of structure and size of population, it was really amazing that Venezuela was ‘traditionally’ the distant #10 of Conmebol: it could be assumed an untapped (or ‘underused’) potential. Oil money was available to provide at least basal structures to develop football. If we would know something about whether and to what extent public money flowed in promoting football, we could have a clearer view. I do not know enough about it to say anything, but this aspect needs to be checked. The topic here is Nicaragua. Maybe the same aspect counts (at least
there is a politically similar oriented government that does not preach "public poverty"…)

Overall, the main effect of change the qualifying format was an increase of ‘transparency of the market’ or ‘to generate a market at all’, true to the old adage: No livestock market, no ‘purchase and sale’. The change was the necessary condition that many players could switch to Europe. Scouts from European clubs were given the opportunity to evaluate individual players in a competitive environment.

Panama:
The curve of Panama looks almost ideal-typical (cf. graph 2, red curve):
A constant; B – progressively accelerating rise; C – slower rise … someday constant again
Idealized curve courses are extremely rare (... I thought)
graph 7
5_usa_panama.pngFunny! The curve of the United States of America is very similar.


> Fall and rise
… USA if we look back far enough!

I understand your point! And there is nothing wrong!
But it refers to a static view. For many years the US fell in relation to competitors further and further back – but not by a decreasing level, but because the competitors improved. From 1950 – 78/79 the level of the USA was equivalent about the level of a selection of amateur teams. And in the 1920/30s they were not better. There was no decline. Simplified example (cf. graph 2): The respective national champion represented his country in international competitions. The national record remained unchanged at 15.00 m. According to graph 2 they were less and less competitive…
This point is important for all teams. Very often means a decline in the rankings only that the development was slowed or stopped. Or: just a suffering from the improvement of others.
graph 8
6_negative_trend.png
Guinea – a real rise and fall in the 1970s (any idea why?), afterwards a period of stagnation, then participation in the overall development. Sudan and Ethiopia: There, the time stands still; only minimal developments at the beginning. For Asian teams a very different course. Extremely erratic; Singapore's curve is still ‘reasonably’ structured. Burma (Myanmar): a striking example of the impact of economic, social and political circumstances.


Teams "born fully developed":
(not counting countries which were components of others e.g. former Yugoslavia, USSR)
.North Korea
.South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia
graph 97_fully_developed.pngThe chart to a witty question… (“only ask questions to which you already know the answers”).

"Born fully developed" implies that a characteristic development process (describable by a sigmoid function) thereafter is no longer identifiable…
I think you knew the answer … smiley: wink


Finally, a curio (perhaps 'curio', mainly by the juxtaposition).

graph 10
mex_tun.pngOriginally I was just looking for Tunisia. I wanted to know how the end of the Bourguiba era, which was accompanied by severe economic, social and political upheavals, impacted the curve (The effects in real life I could assess roughly). Domestic political upheavals are mapped. In retrospect, one can say that development was interrupted only (cf. dashed line). Even in the case of Mexico, there was a similar interruption. Draw a line from the values 1973 to 1986...! The reasons in the case of Mexico are not in my mind at the moment. A nine-year negative trend (although not dramatically in detail) usually indicates a structural problem, even if it is only a football-specific one. (BTW, Mexico and Tunisia were only for a short time at eye level … Tunisia 3-1 Mexico, WC 1978)


Most questions have not been answered. Perhaps there are even more new questions than answers. Then I would be satisfied! As long as graphs or measuring instruments display oscillations, there are no definitive answers (only when the displayed ‘oscillations’ transform into a flatline we are close to ‘the definitive’).
In the meantime we just have to evaluate ‘measurement reports’ and try to draw reasonable conclusions.
Or we can compare! Fast Midfielder says until 1956 the Dutch NT was an amateur selection (cf. graph 1. Several times I wrote: divide line amateurs / professionals 2000. Selection from amateur teams: plus 1 level → conforming!)
But - from other numbers sometimes can not be found a reasonable approach to a ‘solution’ (answer).

In the next post I will provide two diagrams to illustrate the difference between ‘static’ and ‘dynamic’ view. The 'static view' corresponds better to the first glance… I don't mean it pejoratively. Uruguay: world champion 1950, last four: 1954, 1970 …long break … 2010 → fall and rise.
In Germany, the ‘experts’ largely agree that in 1972 Germany had its best team. If the scale is the gap to competitors (but also the best club teams), this is very likely even correct. But no one will seriously claim that today's team is playing at a lower level. Another point: in general, there is a tendency that former giant gaps more and more decrease. However, this does not mean that the good teams become worse in the same extent than (formerly) weak teams become better...

So, I'm looking forward to your critical remarks ... (I've always been happy about your criticism – then I do not have to do everything myself).

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