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Jan 4 09 4:58 PM

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I think most of us will agree FIFA sources (i.e. its website) are not the best to find out which matches really are official A internationals. Most of us keep their own archives with own criteria which matches to count.

Wouldn't it be a good idea that all of us will put their criteria on this topic? Here are my criteria for counting a match official A:
• Both FA’s regard a match as such.
• Both teams played a friendly (tournament) match with its full strength national A-team. At least one of both countries regards the match official (or announced (to FIFA) this match to be A international).
• All World Cup and Continental Cup matches, including qualifiers.

For post 1956 matches concerning European nations I added follwing:
• only matches regarded official A by both national FA’s.

Last Edited By: Fast Midfielder Dec 10 13 2:29 PM. Edited 2 times

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TheRoonBa

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#1 [url]

Jan 4 09 9:05 PM

I think if we have the lineups, we can decide ourselves whether to count the matches as official (for example, if an FA decides not to include a match because of a poor performance, then we can see that it was their normal national team, and include it as an A match. In this situation, I don't think it matters if either FA counts it as official. If both teams play with their normal national team players, the match should be regarded as official - regardless of what the FAs have to say (as long as the game lasts the normal 90 minutes). As you have found yourself (with Israel 7-1 Finland), there seems to be no reason why Finland should not count the match, yet they don't - so we should just ignore this fact, and count it as an A match anyway, especially if we know the team lineup.

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#2 [url]

Jan 4 09 9:30 PM

You have a point indeed to count a match if both sides field their strongest sides :idea: . To me this sounds logical and will make things easier. The only reason I have not choosen this option is: if both FA's don't count a mach, who are others to do so? Just like if both FA's regard a match who are others (FIFA in particular) to deny so?

Does your statement means you also want to include matches regarded inofficial by both FA's? in the 1925-1939 era Netherlands and Belgium played 7 inofficial matches. In 1925 (1-1) and 1926 (Belgium won 5-1) Netherland played with a weakened side, because prior to these matches the arrangement was to play an inofficial match. In 1929 N won 1-0, in 1930 (4-1 for B), 1932 (B won 3-2 and N won 3-2), in 1939 N won 5-2 both sides fielded its strongest XI.

On 11 June 1939 Netherland 4-1 Yugoslavia was played in Amsterdam. Netherland fielded 10 regulars and 18 year old Abe Lenstra, who made his official debut in 1940. YU fielded eight players of the team that beat England one week earlier.

How do you think about the War Time and Victory Games played by the Britisch nations? At least I count the Victory games England and Scotland played in 1945 and 1946 for both sides.

To me the golden rule is: in case of controversy. A match should be counted for both sides or none of them. In order to make fair rankings.

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TheRoonBa

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#3 [url]

Jan 5 09 3:05 AM

I think if both teams have agreed to send a 'weakened' team as you say, then it should be treated as unofficial, or a B match.

To answer your question - "If both FAs don't count a match, who are others to do so?" - Well, in this case, 'others' are intelligent, rational people, who can study the lineup, see that the players are full national team players, and make an objective decision based solely on this. As statisticians/historians, people interested in facts - we do not have any political agenda, and should therefore be fair in our decisions - which will sometimes involve saying that the FA is wrong (For example, East Germany not including the matches just because they lost is clearly wrong, and there should be no hesitation when making that decision when presented with the facts).

I think there probably has to be some kind of 'cut-off' point, such as "A starting lineup must contain at least 6 players who are regular internationals", and then we would have to establish what "regular" meant - played in half of his country's recent games? Then we would have to establish what 'recent' meant! So, it is not an easy decision, but i think we have to be uniform, and use the same rule for all.

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#4 [url]

Jan 5 09 11:05 AM

How can you define a strong team( or line up)..?? it's just partial, a national trainer can use some youth players To test in a friendly game and it can still be an A game....we have to understand that Football isn't a science, that lineups can vary due to numerous reasons " injuries, trainer choices.." so , as a matter of fact, we'll never reach a top notch team, because players are human beings and can't always be the best....So your definition of an A game, can't be based on this criterea....

Anyway, i see that it's mainly the job of FIFA, and the FAs involved, it's up to consider if it is an official game or not, since FIFA created FIFA days to compete, so i think it's more official when FIFA consider it so

and i can give an exemple to prove what i just said, Tunisia played a friendly game against Italy on 2004 , and we lost 0/4 although we didn't play with the " top notch team" ( ES Tunis and ES Sahel players didn't play due to African Clubs Cup, as some professional players who played in foreign countries had their vacations at the time of the game..), but we considered it as an A game, by both sides and by FIFA as an A game, even we can say that Tunisia played with a B team, who didn't have the strentgh to make one attack, against a full sided Italy ( Del Piero, Totti, Pirlo, Cannavaro, Buffon...)

Thank you

"....And the smarter ones beetween us, are those who find out about their social stupidity earlier...." Abd daim !!!!

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#5 [url]

Jan 5 09 5:57 PM

Never Mind.......but what do you think of what i said?

"....And the smarter ones beetween us, are those who find out about their social stupidity earlier...." Abd daim !!!!

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#6 [url]

Jan 5 09 6:09 PM

Dear Ali,

here my answers: "How can you define a strong team( or line up)..?? it's just partial, a national trainer can use some youth players To test in a friendly game and it can still be an A game....we have to understand that Football isn't a science, that lineups can vary due to numerous reasons " injuries, trainer choices.." so , as a matter of fact, we'll never reach a top notch team, because players are human beings and can't always be the best....So your definition of an A game, can't be based on this criterea.... "
That's very true. And a lot of full A internationals that everyone regard official A - in particular the friendlies - have been such kind of matches.

"i see that it's mainly the job of FIFA, and the FAs involved, it's up to consider if it is an official game or not, since FIFA created FIFA days to compete, so i think it's more official when FIFA consider it so."
Here I don't agree. Read my item about Norway 7-0 France, 11 June 1922 issue. I think it's childish why FIFA, after insisting by FFF, deleted this match.

"Tunisia played a friendly game against Italy on 2004 , and we lost 0/4 although we didn't play with the " top notch team" ( ES Tunis and ES Sahel players didn't play due to African Clubs Cup, as some professional players who played in foreign countries had their vacations at the time of the game..), but we considered it as an A game, by both sides and by FIFA as an A game, even we can say that Tunisia played with a B team, who didn't have the strentgh to make one attack, against a full sided Italy ( Del Piero, Totti, Pirlo, Cannavaro, Buffon...)"
This is an "A"match. My country, Netherland, also played for the reason you meant with weakened sides. 1995 N 0-1 Portugal, without 8 players from Ajax. 1999 N 1-2 Morocco, without 6 players from Barcelona. A lot of such matches have ben played and are regarded official A by everybody. In the 1960s NL played many official A matches without the likes of Ajax, as they refused to play for the national team because the club had other priorities. And this are just NL examples. Hundreds of such matches have been played.

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#7 [url]

Jan 5 09 7:32 PM

The discussed question will never be solved in as satisfying way as we wish. I would tend to flexible rational criteria promoted above by Mark. Pay attention, Midfielder, you are a little bit inconsistent by yourself. Should we leave the matter to FA's whether they regard the match, as in the case of mentioned Tunisia-Italy, or should we rather assess the strenght of the teams? If the latter it must work in both directions. Then what to do with such a match as Serbia-Poland last December? Both sides played with completely understrength (second or third, anyway experimental) line-ups then and both consider it official unanimously.

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#8 [url]

Jan 5 09 7:38 PM

If both sides consider it full international, there is no doubt and also if it is an official competition for A national teams, just like CECAFA, COSAFA..
In the case of CHAN none of these games can be taken in consideration, but this leaves a lot of doubtful games.... And I do not think it is a question of life and death..... just like rankings are not that important....

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#9 [url]

Jan 5 09 8:05 PM

siepacz. You are right that the discussed question will never be solved in a satisfying way as we wish, because for doubtful matches there always will be room for discussion.

In case of both nations regard a match official, like Serbia - Poland you mention, I think we should not even use a piece of breath for discussion. Like the Serbia - Poland match you point, or the Netherlands - Portugal match from 1995 I pointed.

Let's focus discussion only on matches which are regarded official by one nation and which are not regarded official by the other one. However I agree with Mark if he says ,,I think there probably has to be some kind of 'cut-off' point, such as "A starting lineup must contain at least 6 players who are regular internationals", and then we would have to establish what "regular" meant - played in half of his country's recent games? Then we would have to establish what 'recent' meant! So, it is not an easy decision, but i think we have to be uniform, and use the same rule for all.''

pieter, what do you mean with CHAN?

I agree with you this is not a question of life and death. Only how can we make our archives as good as possible.

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#10 [url]

Jan 5 09 8:07 PM

It's not a question of life and death for sure. It's much much more important than that. :-)
Quotation from Shankly is not absurd in this place. It's a matter of historical researches and a historian has always to categorize events in order to be fair to facts.

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#11 [url]

Jan 5 09 8:17 PM

siepacz, as we Holland say: "you hit the nail on its head" by quoting Shankly.

The reason I started this discussion is because I am sure we all want to make our archives as good as possible. And I think we can help each other.

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#12 [url]

Jan 6 09 3:16 PM

I think you can never write a simple set of rules for what is an official international match. Pretty much any rule you can think of, there are examples to contradict it.

The national FAs are all run by different people so have different opinions. Even the same FA has different opinions in different years.

Some FAs do not keep or even know which matches they played historically, so how can we rely on their opinions?

Mark says above that if we have the lineups, then we can make our own decisions: true to an extent, but firstly as we all know we do not have historical lineups for many games outside Europe and South America, and secondly you also would need to know tangential information, for example which players were injured/retired/unavailable, who was playing well for their club, etc.

My personal policy is to try and include everything that could be considered an international match, and let the reader decide themselves.

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#13 [url]

Jan 6 09 3:17 PM

Fast Midfielder wrote:
The reason I started this discussion is because I am sure we all want to make our archives as good as possible. And I think we can help each other.


This much I agree!

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#14 [url]

Jan 6 09 8:52 PM

After reading all reactions, I think most of us agree to count matches if:
• Both FA’s regard a match as such.
• All World Cup and Continental Cup matches, including qualifiers.
I think won't be nececary anymore to discuss about anymore. ->

->
• Both teams played a friendly (tournament) match with its full strength national A-team. At least one of both countries regards the match official (or announced (to FIFA) this match to be A international).
I better could define this different. Ali is very right indeed if he says: how can you define a strong team? You hit the nail on his head to say that due on circumstances national teams do not play with its strongest team. Sometimes a coach wants to test players, sometimes players are injured and sometimes a club team keeps it likes as they have other interests.

By the way: in the 1950-54 era something bizarre occured in Dutch soccer. Due to very, very strict KNVB amateur rules the Dutch team at the time was someting like a weakened B-sides. Yet both KNVB and its opponents regard these matches official, so they are. -> A match played by far the strongest side that represented Netherlands is not official. smiley-embarassed.gif See article France 1-2 Dutch professionals, 12 March 1953. :idea:

->
For post 1956 matches concerning European nations I added follwing:
• only matches regarded official A by both national FA’s.
Here I made a terrible mistake. I meant post 1956 Olympic Games matches. :idea: I think if countries lable their Olympic team not as A team (i.e. Yugoslavia 1956-64 and Bulgaria 1968 ) they should not consider their Olympic Team matches as A.

Last Edited By: Fast Midfielder Dec 10 13 2:30 PM. Edited 1 time.

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TheRoonBa

Posts: 5,526 Site Admin

#15 [url]

Jan 6 09 10:33 PM

I agree with the majority of the above except:

Fast Midfielder wrote:
I think if countries lable their Olympic team not as A team (i.e. Yugoslavia 1956-64 and Bulgaria 196 they should not consider their Olympic Team matches as A.


If the Olympic team has the same players as the normal A-team, we MUST consider it as the A-team. If both teams play with their normal A players, but both teams call it "Olympic", we should STILL consider it an A-match. For example, if Bulgaria play Romania in Olympic Qualifying, but both teams are exactly the same as for a normal A-match, then why should we not count it as an A-match?

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#16 [url]

Jan 6 09 10:40 PM

Yugoslavia 1956: The A team played England at Wembley on 28 Nov 1956, the Olympic team in Melbourne v USA on the very same day.
Yugoslavia 1964: Olympic Team played at Olympics on 13, 15, 18, 20, 22 Oct and additional match with Israel on 28 Oct. A team played 25 Oct in Budapest v Hungary.

Bulgaria 1968: Olympic Team played in Mexico final on 26 Oct. The next dat A team played in Sofia

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#17 [url]

Jan 6 09 10:45 PM

Mark "For example, if Bulgaria play Romania in Olympic Qualifying, but both teams are exactly the same as for a normal A-match, then why should we not count it as an A-match?"

Here you have a point. I agree with you.

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#18 [url]

Jan 8 09 8:48 PM

Mark wrote iearlier: "I think there probably has to be some kind of 'cut-off' point, such as "A starting lineup must contain at least 6 players who are regular internationals", and then we would have to establish what "regular" meant - played in half of his country's recent games? Then we would have to establish what 'recent' meant! So, it is not an easy decision, but i think we have to be uniform, and use the same rule for all."

Here I have a so called tricky one, about saying on which side of the cutting point this match should be. The match is labelled as Netherlands B - Finland and played on 31-10-1951 in Amsterdam Olympisch Stadion (NL won 4-1). KNVB regards this match as official for B-team.

The line up: Dré Saris; Aad de Jong, Roel Bak, Henk Schijvenaar; Piet Fanger, Henk Appel; Louis van den Bogert, Jampie Kuneman, Henk van de Langenberg, Mick Clavan, Piet van Overbeek.

some additional info: Four days earlier Netherlands 4- 4 Finland was played in Rotterdam. Dutch goalkeeper Piet Kraak (who was the regular golskeeper in the 1946-52 era) made that match three terrible mistakes that all resulted in a goal for Finland. So Kraak normally would have been replaced for the next match, four days later.
Dré Saris played according to KNVB archives one full international for NL. In 1949. Saris was in the 1949-51 most of the matches the reserve goalkeeper on the bench.

From the 46 players that made, according to KNVB, their full international debut in the 1950-54 era 33 players played 5 or less A internationals, 26 played 3 or less A.

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#20 [url]

Jan 8 09 11:27 PM

mcruic wrote:
I think if we have the lineups, we can decide ourselves whether to count the matches as official (for example, if an FA decides not to include a match because of a poor performance, then we can see that it was their normal national team, and include it as an A match. In this situation, I don't think it matters if either FA counts it as official. If both teams play with their normal national team players, the match should be regarded as official - regardless of what the FAs have to say (as long as the game lasts the normal 90 minutes). As you have found yourself (with Israel 7-1 Finland), there seems to be no reason why Finland should not count the match, yet they don't - so we should just ignore this fact, and count it as an A match anyway, especially if we know the team lineup.


"as long as the game lasts the normal 90 minutes":
I don't agree. Until 1964 all the Asian Nations Cup games lasted only 80 minutes. However they are recognized as official by all the involving FAs and by FIFA. It will be absurd not to count them.

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