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Official FIFA World Rankings

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FIFA’s official ranking system for nations was officially introduced in 1992. Initially it was a rather simplistic system, in which a win gave a team 3 points whilst a draw gave the team 1 point. This created a number of problems, based mainly around the fact that it didn’t take into account that some countries continually played weaker nations and as a result would constantly rank higher than more accomplished sides.

After 7 years, FIFA decided to try and rectify this with a new system. In this system teams were awarded up to a maximum of 10 points for a result. The points took into account the following factors:

  • Goals scored/conceded
  • Home or Away game
  • Importance of match / competition
  • Regional strength

Another change was that losers were now able to win points, as points didn’t necessarily depend on winning, drawing or losing.

Whilst this system addressed some the issues, FIFA felt the need to make more changes so in 2006 the system was changed to what we currently see in use today.

Current FIFA World Rankings Calculation Process:

Since the changes in 2006 the following basic points allocation has been in use:

Win (no penalty shootout) – 3 points awarded
Win (penalty shootout) – 2 points awarded
Draw – 1 point awarded
Loss (penalty shootout) – 1 point awarded
Loss (no penalty shootout) – 0 points awarded

Each result has a modifier applying to it based on the status of the match:

Friendlies : 1.0X
World Cup and Continental Cup: 2.5X
Continental Cup and Confederation Cup Finals: 3.0X
World Cup Finals : 4.0X

Results against higher ranked teams should of course be worth more points, and their is a formula which takes this into account:

Opposition strength modifier : 200 – opposition ranking / 100

With the exceptions that the number one ranked is worth 2.0X whilst teams under 150 are a 0.5X modifier.

The last modifier applied is regional strength. Each confederation has a weighting:

UEFA: 1.0X
CONMEBOL: 0.98X
CONCACAF: 0.88X
CAF: 0.85X
AFC: 0.85X
OFC: 0.85X

Those weightings are used in the following formula to determine the modifier:

Regional Strength Modifier : Team 1 regional weighting + Team 2 regional weighting / 2

All of these factors are used to determine how many points either side get from an individual match.

Results over the past 48 months are added together and used that to determine overall ranking, with the following modifiers applied to reflect recent form:

Within the last 12 months 1.0x
12 to 24 months 0.5x
24 to 36 months 0.3X
36 to 48 months 0.2X

Sample FIFA World Rankings Calculation

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The maximum number of points that can be won in one match is 2,400. Based on this example, the maximum number of points wasn’t obtained because CONMEBOL has a strength of less than 1.0.

Interesting Facts:

  • Coca-Cola have been the awards major sponsor since it’s inception
  • Brazil has dominated the ranking system since it’s inception. Holding the top spot for close to 11 years out of a possible 18 years.

Associated FIFA Awards:

FIFA team of the year:

Awarded to the team whose best seven matches received the most amount of points. This year’s winner was Spain.

FIFA mover of the year:

Awarded to the team that has made the best progress up the rankings chart for that particular year.

Most Successful teams:

Brazil and France have consistently been the most successful sides reflecting their dominance in World Football for the past twenty years.

Current FIFA World Rankings (source)

Last Updated 16 Oct 2009 | Next Release 20 Nov 2009

Ranking Team Pts
Oct 09
+/- Ranking
Sep 09
+/- Pts
Sep 09
1 Brazil Brazil 1632 0 Equal 28
2 Spain Spain 1629 0 Equal 41
3 Netherlands Netherlands 1340 0 Equal -36
4 Italy Italy 1215 0 Equal 29
5 Germany Germany 1161 -1 Down -25
6 Argentina Argentina 1103 2 Up -10
7 England England 1101 0 Equal -26
8 Croatia Croatia 1087 1 Up -14
9 France France 1049 1 Up 9
10 Portugal Portugal 1042 7 Up 162
11 USA USA 1025 0 Equal 51
12 Russia Russia 982 -6 Down -147
13 Switzerland Switzerland 961 2 Up 63
14 Cameroon Cameroon 949 15 Up 130
15 Czech Republic Czech Republic 928 3 Up 58
16 Greece Greece 921 -4 Down -50
17 Chile Chile 909 4 Up 63
18 Mexico Mexico 904 6 Up 69
19 Côte d'Ivoire Côte d’Ivoire 903 1 Up 51
20 Serbia Serbia 892 -7 Down -24
Capello’s England Squad – Filling in the blanks
2009 FIFA U-20 World Cup Final

One Comment to Official FIFA World Rankings

  1. This is a really cool article, thank you. I did wonder how they got the rankings sorted. Does anyone know how they came to figure out the confederation weightings?