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Mar 15 09 12:04 AM

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Fiji are up again in FIFA's World Rankings, up a place in Febuary from 105th to 104, despite not playing since November.

http://www.fijilive.com/sports/football/news/2009/03/13/8486.Fijilive

Another example of FIFA's strange ranking system.

A Chelmsford City Fan

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TheRoonBa

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#1 [url]

Mar 15 09 5:59 AM

It is natural for teams to move without playing, because the system deletes matches every month from the calculation (matches older than 48 months old are deleted, so if Fiji had bad results 49 months ago, then they will gain points and ranking places). If they had won the World Cup 49 months ago, they would lose all the points for winning the tournament, and would go down in the rankings.

There is nothing wrong with this particular part of the system, once you understand how it is possible for teams to move without playing.

The problem (as it has always been) is that too much importance is given to certain types of match, so we can see for example, Fiji, going up 25 places for winning one world cup qualifier against Vanuatu.

Also, teams who do not play regularly are penalised, and there is no differentiation between losing 4-0 to Italy and losing 4-0 to Fiji for the "minnows", so we see San Marino at the bottom of the rankings along with American Samoa, when clearly they are not at the same level.

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#2 [url]

Mar 15 09 10:02 AM

No thats right if you look at the bottom 7.

http://www.fifa.com/worldfootball/ranking/lastranking/gender=m/fullranking.html#confederation=0&rank=179&page=5

San Marino are level with the other 6, but would most probably beat all of these with a certin ease.
Obviously Papua New Guinea were much stronger than the Cook Islands or American Samoa if they ever actually played. While I think Cook Islands are also stronger than American Samoa.

A Chelmsford City Fan

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#3 [url]

Mar 16 09 7:58 PM

Just forget any sense of FIFA ranking! It's significance consists only in the position of the body running it. It's not natural, Mark, that teams move upwards without playing because they get no points for lost matches, not minus points, as you look at current countings. Where are minus points emerging from in such a case remains a mystery. The only rational ranking I know is that based on an adjusted idea of Dr. Elö.

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#4 [url]

Mar 17 09 10:16 AM

The Elo ranking is probably the best. It counts every results. The problem would be "which match is official ?"

I aten't dead !

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#5 [url]

Mar 17 09 3:35 PM

I do not think ranking is important, football is not tennis; everyone knows which teams are stronger in the different continents, but it is impossible (almost) to compare :
Costa Rica-S.Korea
Montserrat-Cook-Djibouti
just two examples

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#6 [url]

Mar 17 09 4:28 PM

siepacz wrote:
Just forget any sense of FIFA ranking! It's significance consists only in the position of the body running it. It's not natural, Mark, that teams move upwards without playing because they get no points for lost matches, not minus points, as you look at current countings. Where are minus points emerging from in such a case remains a mystery. The only rational ranking I know is that based on an adjusted idea of Dr. Elö.


There's no mystery. It's relatively easy to compute the ranking. I keep track of it every couple of weeks.

FIFA Ranking: April 2009 preview (I).

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TheRoonBa

Posts: 5,414 Site Admin

#7 [url]

Apr 2 09 1:48 PM

I think if people see rankings for what they are, there is no problem.

Rankings (in tennis, football or any other sport) DO NOT show which teams are definitively better than other teams. They are (or should be) the best possible approximation of the CURRENT strength of teams/players based on recent results. It is part of the fundamental essence of rankings that they will change, so a team can be 10 places higher one week, then drop 10 the next week - this does not show a flaw in the rankings, it shows that the rankings are adjusting to better represent the true current strength of that team. The importance is the word "current". Rankings are not supposed to be historical - this is the job of straight statistical league tables which would see Brazil, Argentina, England, Germany, Italy, etc. always at the top. And of course, as with everything else, there will be unexpected results.

A lot of people will say that, for example, a team who beats Brazil by defending for the whole game and winning 1-0, despite Brazil being clearly the better football team in the match, do not deserve ranking points. However, when you realise that the key purpose of football is to score goals, then it is clear that in this particular match, the winning team done the better job and was the strongest team in terms of achieving this purpose.

But, essentially, the more teams play teams from other parts of the world, the better a truly world ranking becomes, as there is more data. It is clear, for example, that the bottom teams in Oceania appear to be worse than the bottom teams from other continents. Even though American Samoa have never played Djibouti, it should be clear that teams who beat American Samoa 4-0 (Tonga, Samoa, etc.) are a lot weaker than teams who beat Djibouti 4-0 (Kenya, Tanzania, etc.) It is possible to show this in a decent ranking, and in my opinion, this is a good thing - it is a nice and neat way of showing this difference in strength. Without a ranking, it is not always possible to compare teams (hence why rankings are usually invented - people like to see where their team ranks). The winner of a knockout competition (such as the World Cup) does not necessarily deserve to be Number 1 - and only by having a balanced ranking can this be shown.

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