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Jun 6 17 5:06 PM

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1872-2017 rankings available for association football (soccer): http://internationalsports.nfshost.com/index.php/home/load_sports/5/2017

This is, by far, the most accurate ranking system so far in representing the true skill of a nation in any particular sport. that isn't too say that there isn't room for much improvement, and it certainly has its limitations. mathematicians and ranking experts could take this idea and improve on it significantly. it is also not meant as replacement for my suggestion of reducing the maximum size of national teams to similar sized regions (in terms of combined wealth and population). however, this system or an improved system like it could definitely be used with higher effectiveness in such a scenario.

BASICS
*a nation's wealth and population is defined by Economic Determinant (e-determinant)
*the e-determinant is decided by population amount and gdp per capita amount, this is recalculated every decade (i would have preferred to use national wealth instead of gdp per capita, but such historic data is not easy, or even possible, to come by)
*final scores are adjusted depending on difference in e-determinant
*this causes mathematical problems for certain sports with poor scoring systems, therefore decreasing their accuracy compared to sports with better scoring systems. examples of poor systems: soccer football and ice hockey (severely limited scoring opportunities, too easy for defense), baseball (too much randomization in scoring opportunities, too easy for pitcher).
*certain regions in larger countries could potentially perform better or worse than the actual rating. the rating used for large countries is not an average (this would put large nations at a disadvantage because it would require an exponentially greater amount of upkeep), nor is it necessarily the representation of the best region within the country (this would put small nations at a disadvantage because it would require less upkeep for the larger nations).
*for now the regular Elo Rating system is used, this could change in the future
*the biggest enemy of any ranking system is lack of games played. when observers see an inconsistency in a result from a rating system they often blame it and not the true culprit. this is something to keep in mind when analyzing any such system. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Law_of_large_numbers

RANKING: nations with at least 11 matches (if they have less than 30 the nation name is in Italic).
PROVISIONAL RATINGS: nations with 6-10 matches
ACTIVE & UNRATED: nations with 1-5 matches

OTHER SPORTS COMPLETED
  • American Football (appears to be quite accurate, but it looks to me as Austria is overrated due to lack of games played. they should be in between Japan and Germany. This problem will resolve itself when more games are played).
  • Australian Rules Football (this is looking pretty good, but South Africa and perhaps Britain should be ranked a bit higher in 2014).
  • Circle Kabaddi
  • International Rules Football
  • Standard Kabaddi
*i'm working on data entry for several other sports. you may see statistics for them in nation profiles, keep in mind they will not be as accurate as possible until complete). i would like to complete basketball, rugby union, and water polo next.

Last Edited By: abramjones Jun 14 17 10:49 AM. Edited 4 times

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#1 [url]

Jun 6 17 5:50 PM

abramjones wrote:
mathematicians and ranking experts could take this idea and improve on it significantly
Have you asked any?   There must be some academic literature on this subject.

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#2 [url]

Jun 6 17 11:29 PM

nfm24 wrote:
abramjones wrote:
mathematicians and ranking experts could take this idea and improve on it significantly
Have you asked any?   There must be some academic literature on this subject.

not yet, it's something to seriously consider in the future for tweaking purposes. have you reviewed any of the rankings?

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TheRoonBa

Posts: 5,500 Site Admin

#3 [url]

Jun 7 17 2:53 PM

Interesting choice of flags, by the way. Why have you used the naval jack of Bulgaria, for example, when the national flag would be the obvious one? (I'm picking just a few of many flag anomalies). Also, a proposed Czech flag from 1992 instead of the official one. The 1917 Russian Jack instead of the current national flag. Any reason?

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#4 [url]

Jun 7 17 7:12 PM

TheRoonBa wrote:
Interesting choice of flags, by the way. Why have you used the naval jack of Bulgaria, for example, when the national flag would be the obvious one? (I'm picking just a few of many flag anomalies). Also, a proposed Czech flag from 1992 instead of the official one. The 1917 Russian Jack instead of the current national flag. Any reason?

sometimes to avoid duplicates, or similar looking flags, or trying it out just for fun (not saying it will be permanent). historical flags are also used when viewing previous years. as you know many nations do not have official flags, or use flags of their colonizers. in these cases unofficial flags are used also.

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#5 [url]

Jun 7 17 8:07 PM

Personally I would do away with the flags or make them much smaller. On my (relatively small) monitor only 4 or 5 countries are on screen at once. Your bespoke choice of country names and flags doesn't necessarily help add authority to your work - this is obviously a superficial comment but such things are impediments to acceptance of new ideas as you know.

I object to the tautological assumption that some of the sports considered have inadequate scoring system (i.e. anything where the "better" team doesn't always win). The nature of the sport isn't an adjustable parameter in your model. Anyway we discussed it elsewhere so no point doing so again. More practically, what about adding some error bars to the rankings? The error bar could itself be based on your estimate of the inadequacy of the scoring system in that particular sport.

Other nice features could be graphs of country ranking vs year, and option to select multiple countries to compare (like some of CTR's graphs on other threads). Big jumps/dips in the graph could be highlighted and the relevant results identified. Also it might be good to present optional columns of data with various ranking factors ruled out, or the ordinal ranking if (say) only population, or only wealth, or neither, were used.

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#6 [url]

Jun 8 17 2:03 AM

nfm24 wrote:
 I object to the tautological assumption that some of the sports considered have inadequate scoring system (i.e. anything where the "better" team doesn't always win). The nature of the sport isn't an adjustable parameter in your model. Anyway we discussed it elsewhere so no point doing so again.
i don't think tautological is the right description. football, ice hockey, and baseball are all known for being difficult to predict. i'm simply stating why this is so, because of inadequate scoring systems (that could easily be improved). and you're right, the nature of the sport isn't an adjustable parameter in my model, but my model will require more results for more accuracy. this could be said with any model, but due to the sensitivity of what i'm dealing with it could be an even bigger factor.

nfm24 wrote:
Other nice features could be graphs of country ranking vs year, and option to select multiple countries to compare (like some of CTR's graphs on other threads). Big jumps/dips in the graph could be highlighted and the relevant results identified.

yes, i agree. these and other features would be nice. i would like to have such features coded sometime in the future when i am able to.

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#7 [url]

Jun 8 17 6:33 PM

I have just a minor note about Equatorial Guinea. This is a very bizarre situation in international football, because most of the players who have apperared for that national team over the last few years, come from foreign countries and have touched the Equatoguinean soil for the first time just some days before making their début with the squad. So the Equatoguinean national team is not an expression of the proper country, but just a selection of naturalized players who were born and raised abroad.
And if I'm not wrong, an identical situation occurs with the Philippines too, where a lot of guys of Filipino origin, but born and raised in Europe, have been naturalized and have been called up by the national team.
In such cases the national team and the country are two separate concepts, even if the flag is the same.

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#8 [url]

Jun 8 17 8:23 PM

Luca wrote:
I have just a minor note about Equatorial Guinea. This is a very bizarre situation in international football, because most of the players who have apperared for that national team over the last few years, come from foreign countries and have touched the Equatoguinean soil for the first time just some days before making their début with the squad. So the Equatoguinean national team is not an expression of the proper country, but just a selection of naturalized players who were born and raised abroad.
And if I'm not wrong, an identical situation occurs with the Philippines too, where a lot of guys of Filipino origin, but born and raised in Europe, have been naturalized and have been called up by the national team.
In such cases the national team and the country are two separate concepts, even if the flag is the same.

that is a very unfortunate that's allowed to happen if it's true. isn't there a limit to how many naturalized players can be on the field? i was talking about to some guys on a GAA forum about this. i do like the way GAA does it for the most part, but i'm not fond of barring professionals from play. speaking of which, i do intend to add hurling and gaelic football as counties teams are virtually national teams in the sense we know. in that discussion i also mentioned the Italy baseball team and how they are permitted to use Americans of Italian descent and Israel can use American players of Jewish ancestry in the world baseball classic, which is one of the worst cases i've seen.

what do you think of Uruguay's positioning in my rankings? i know you were mentioning them as possibly the best nation of all time due to their performance despite having such a small population. right now only Croatia and Montenegro are ahead of them in the all time section, followed very closely by Brazil and Serbia. i'm not sure if Croatia and Montenegro will be able to maintain such high ratings as the years go on as they are relatively new, it should be interesting (it's harder maintaining a high score for 100 years than 40). before those 2 were independent countries Uruguay was in first place (Scotland before then). http://internationalsports.nfshost.com/index.php/home/load_all_time/5

i'm very disappointed to see how Austria and Hungary have fallen over the years, they used to be top starting after the WW1 throughout much of the cold war era. Germany is also an interesting case, because they performed quite poorly during the world war era. now they are right behind Italy and England, they would probably be ahead of them if it wasn't for their slow start. Ireland and Northern Ireland don't suffer from this problem because their all time ratings don't include United Ireland's ratings which was pretty poor at first.

Last Edited By: abramjones Jun 14 17 10:52 AM. Edited 7 times.

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TheRoonBa

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#9 [url]

Jun 8 17 8:31 PM

Luca wrote:
I have just a minor note about Equatorial Guinea. This is a very bizarre situation in international football, because most of the players who have apperared for that national team over the last few years, come from foreign countries and have touched the Equatoguinean soil for the first time just some days before making their début with the squad. So the Equatoguinean national team is not an expression of the proper country, but just a selection of naturalized players who were born and raised abroad.
And if I'm not wrong, an identical situation occurs with the Philippines too, where a lot of guys of Filipino origin, but born and raised in Europe, have been naturalized and have been called up by the national team.
In such cases the national team and the country are two separate concepts, even if the flag is the same.
Philippines at least have Filipino heritage (their parents or grandparents are Filipino), so I don't think they can be included here.  It just so happens that lots of Filipinos live abroad, and they are just taking advantage of that.  India and Pakistan would also do well to follow that example - many players in the UK would become available who might be able to improve the squad.

Equatorial Guinea is blatantly cheating (like Qatar also did in handball recently), by basically buying players from other countries with no connection whatsoever through heritage.


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#10 [url]

Jun 9 17 6:22 PM

TheRoonBa wrote:
Philippines at least have Filipino heritage (their parents or grandparents are Filipino), so I don't think they can be included here.  It just so happens that lots of Filipinos live abroad, and they are just taking advantage of that.  India and Pakistan would also do well to follow that example - many players in the UK would become available who might be able to improve the squad.

Yes, there's nothing weird in this case, but what I mean is: the fact that almost the whole Philippines squad is formed by guys born and raised in foreign countries, makes it difficult to establish a pertinent connection between results of the national team and demographic and economic parameters of the country, because the national team is not the exact expression of the country.
When Italy lived one of the most important moments in their football history (the 1930s), used to field 5 or 6 guys born and raised in South America, while Portugal won their greatest title (Euro 2016) also thanks to the performances of 6 or 7 players born and raised in Brazil or in France.
So the parameters are a bit "polluted" by such factors.

abramjones wrote:
what do you think of Uruguay's positioning in my rankings? i know you were mentioning them as possibly the best nation of all time due to their performance despite having such a small population. right now only Croatia and Montenegro are ahead of them
I'll change my opinion if Croatia and Montenegro manage to win at least a World Cup shortly icon_smile.gif.
Your work is very original and interesting and deserves respect, but that looks more like fantasy-football than real football.

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#11 [url]

Jun 10 17 3:58 PM

abramjones wrote:
what do you think of Uruguay's positioning in my rankings? i know you were mentioning them as possibly the best nation of all time due to their performance despite having such a small population. right now only Croatia and Montenegro are ahead of them
I'll change my opinion if Croatia and Montenegro manage to win at least a World Cup shortly icon_smile.gif.
Your work is very original and interesting and deserves respect, but that looks more like fantasy-football than real football.
thankyou, it has been a lot of hard work for sure, with much more to come. about Croatia and Montenegro not winning the world cup, and Uruguay winning the world cup... there is a mathematical problem here... a problem with odds (i'm glad you mentioned it, because i wanted to make a video explaining this anyway). Uruguay is not winning world cups these days, but they are still relatively as good as they used to be. the reason for them not winning anymore is because there is way more competition (more teams of good quality, not necessarily better), meaning that the odds of winning are less... even with superior skill level. very rarely will you see small countries winning it all in football these days... once in a while you have a fluke like Greece or Portugal in the Euro... (and this could happen in the world cup too, Croatia and Uruguay both did come close previously for instance... ranking 3rd and 4th). but my point is that it is way more difficult now for small countries. another good example is New Zealand in rugby... if rugby was as popular as football... New Zealand's trophy success rate would go way down like Uruguay's did in football even if New Zealand maintained the same quality. if United States, Germany, Italy, China, Japan, South Korea, Brazil... and then all the medium sized countries like Netherlands, Argentina, Canada, etc played Rugby as their main sport for a while... New Zealand just couldn't maintain their victories... even if they were more efficient than these countries in the sport. i hope i'm being clear, it's kind of tricky to explain. this isn't to take away what Uruguay have done in the past, and what New Zealand are doing now... they certainly were and are overachieving. but overachieving can only get you so far once mathematics gets involved... and the exponential increase in poor odds will do that. so according to my calculations, Uruguay are still performing at a very high rate, but the chance of them winning a world cup have gone down significantly, even back in the early 1900s it was tough, but it's exponentially more tough now.

even with a country inefficient in team sports like China (not trying to knock China, they seem reasonably efficient in individual sports), China is ranked higher than New Zealand in basketball. New Zealand is certainly more efficient than China in basketball, but the over all accumulated strength of China gives them more potential of winning a medal in the sport (by a small margin). the same is true for most other sports. now when my rankings for basketball are released, i guarantee New Zealand superiority will be reflected in them.

what makes you say it seems like fantasy football? my rankings simply measure the efficiency... the true relative skill per capita/wealth of each country in a sport. it is all based on real results and performance and estimates the actual winners if countries had a similar size. certainly fantasy sports are based on real sports too, but not for the same purpose in any way. fantasy sports judge the performance of individuals and calculate them together on a hypothetical team whereas mine are referring to the actual attributes of a country. i personally have never engaged in fantasy sports.

Last Edited By: abramjones Jun 10 17 4:15 PM. Edited 1 time.

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#12 [url]

Jun 11 17 9:19 AM

Yep, it's perfectly clear what you mean. You try to establish a scientific connection among results of a national team and population amount and gdp per capita amount of a nation, making therefore a ranking of the most efficient countries according to these parameters.
But the point is, there are so many futher odds that can influence the sports efficiency of a national team, and most of them are not scientifically explicable. You mention the cases of Hungary and Austria. In the early 1950s, Hungary fielded formidable champions like Gyula Grosics, József Bozsik, Nándor Hidegkuti, Zoltán Czibor, Sándor Kocsis and Ferenc Puskás, that is to say an unrepeatable generation of talents. The same goes for Austria in the early 1930s. They were unstoppable when they had talents like Matthias Sindelar and the so-called Wunderteam generation. But when such golden veins dried up, Hungary and Austria suffered. Look at Spain: they have recently triumphed thanks to Xavi, David Villa, Andrés Iniesta, Iker Casillas, Gerard Piqué and Sergio Ramos, but when these champions decline it's hard to believe Spain will be able to replace them with success.
In my opinion, the birth of the so-called "golden generations" doesn't depend from economic or demographic parameters, but it's often a matter of fortuity.

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#13 [url]

Jun 11 17 9:50 AM

It can be the result of just one or two top coaches, or a particularly good programme of youth development. Of course, one could argue that is also related to the economics of the country, but the same sort of generational development occurred in comparably poor countries e.g. Guinea or Burma.

Other countries have completely anomalous historical development outwith the assumptions of the model, e.g. Taiwan, South Africa etc.

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#14 [url]

Jun 11 17 11:04 AM

Luca wrote:
Yep, it's perfectly clear what you mean. You try to establish a scientific connection among results of a national team and population amount and gdp per capita amount of a nation, making therefore a ranking of the most efficient countries according to these parameters.
But the point is, there are so many futher odds that can influence the sports efficiency of a national team, and most of them are not scientifically explicable. You mention the cases of Hungary and Austria. In the early 1950s, Hungary fielded formidable champions like Gyula Grosics, József Bozsik, Nándor Hidegkuti, Zoltán Czibor, Sándor Kocsis and Ferenc Puskás, that is to say an unrepeatable generation of talents. The same goes for Austria in the early 1930s. They were unstoppable when they had talents like Matthias Sindelar and the so-called Wunderteam generation. But when such golden veins dried up, Hungary and Austria suffered. Look at Spain: they have recently triumphed thanks to Xavi, David Villa, Andrés Iniesta, Iker Casillas, Gerard Piqué and Sergio Ramos, but when these champions decline it's hard to believe Spain will be able to replace them with success.
In my opinion, the birth of the so-called "golden generations" doesn't depend from economic or demographic parameters, but it's often a matter of fortuity.

yes, there are further factors besides wealth and population, but they either have to do with the sport or are intimately tied to the sport... others have to do with the culture (this could include genetics in some opinions). if not, genetics would be its own separate factor.  but the biggest factors outside of national interest in a sport/national cultivation of the sport are wealth and population, and they greatly throw results out of balance... which is the purpose of these rankings... to bring them back in balance with reality. yes there are other factors i don't calculate... such as how the players felt on that certain day, national diets of countries, injuries, et cetera. but most of this, with enough results, will be minimal in polluting the rankings (unfortunately this is not true for factors such as national diets).

and yes, golden generations are a matter of chance in some cases (however, this is very important: it's not necessarily random chance unless we are referring to genetics)... but also sports infrastructure as nfm24 pointed out after your comment. with this in mind the same concepts hold true... bigger and larger countries have a greater "chance" of this happening. so these rankings still apply in regards to this point. bigger larger countries have a bigger chance of accumulating these building blocks for a good team, players, coaches, et cetera.

Last Edited By: abramjones Jun 11 17 4:18 PM. Edited 2 times.

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#15 [url]

Jun 11 17 8:40 PM


nfm24 wrote:
It can be the result of just one or two top coaches
And these top-coaches very often come from Europe, so the sports development of many African and Asian countries, in many cases, has been encouraged by foreign factors which are not related to the local realities.

abramjones wrote:
even with a country inefficient in team sports like China (not trying to knock China, they seem reasonably efficient in individual sports)

If we consider demographic and economic potentialities, China is without doubt one of the most underperforming countries in football. But the Chinese government and the local Football Association have recently launched a long-term programme for a serious development of the football activities in the country, with strong investments and so on, in order to try to win the World Cup within a period of 30 years.
Chineses are not stupid, so if they focus on this project with dedication it's unlikely they'll fail. Only time will tell.

abramjones wrote:
yes there are other factors i don't calculate... such as how the players felt on that certain day, national diets of countries, injuries, et cetera. but most of this, with enough results, will be minimal in polluting the rankings (unfortunately this is not true for factors such as national diets).
Another important factor is without doubt the environmental condition of a country. Just one example: Bolivia and matches at high altitudes. I think if Bolivia always played home, they would be one of the best teams in South America: I remember many defeats of Brazil and Argentina in La Paz. But I'm sure there are other similar examples.
And what about factors such as doping and refereeings? Sport teaches that, in the course of history, behind the successes of some nations there has been a systematic and methodical abuse of doping substances. Nobody can deny it, and the examples are well-known. And this is not necessarily related to rich countries only.
As to refereeings, ok, perhaps they are less decisive than other factors. Everybody knows that referees' errors can often determine the outcome of a match of of a whole tournament, but willing or unwilling one has to accept them (except the ones of that Ecuadorian clown against Italy at the 2002 World Cup, of course... smiley: mad)

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#16 [url]

Jun 13 17 5:54 AM


And these top-coaches very often come from Europe, so the sports development of many African and Asian countries, in many cases, has been encouraged by foreign factors which are not related to the local realities.

i know this wasn't directed at me, but absolutely, i have always been against coaches from other countries coaching national teams personally.

If we consider demographic and economic potentialities, China is without doubt one of the most underperforming countries in football. But the Chinese government and the local Football Association have recently launched a long-term programme for a serious development of the football activities in the country, with strong investments and so on, in order to try to win the World Cup within a period of 30 years.
Chineses are not stupid, so if they focus on this project with dedication it's unlikely they'll fail. Only time will tell.

certainly, and with all that wealth and population behind them they have a much higher chance/ability than New Zealand (and Vatican City) to do this... and this includes most other sports as well (especially popular sports)

Another important factor is without doubt the environmental condition of a country. Just one example: Bolivia and matches at high altitudes. I think if Bolivia always played home, they would be one of the best teams in South America: I remember many defeats of Brazil and Argentina in La Paz. But I'm sure there are other similar examples.
And what about factors such as doping and refereeings? Sport teaches that, in the course of history, behind the successes of some nations there has been a systematic and methodical abuse of doping substances. Nobody can deny it, and the examples are well-known. And this is not necessarily related to rich countries only.

yes, there are other factors that i didn't mention. environment is an obvious one. but keep in mind Bolivia always playing at home isn't a well rounded mathematical analysis of results. even if they did so, and their score was higher... this should be pointed out as error in the rankings because of circumstance. there are all sorts of other factors in sports, and a lot of them deal with mismanagement by governing bodies of sports... and my rankings do not take this stuff into consideration. i'm simply removing 2 enormous obstacles of achieving good rankings, and that is wealth and population amount. i do this because of the size and consistency of these factors... things like drugs and what not... that is something that happens here and there, and is due to poor governing. the influence of wealth and population amount is something that is constant and has a very large influence over other factors (besides national interest/national cultivation of the sport).

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