The FIFA world rankings came out last week and, like any football fan, I couldn’t help but check despite knowing how ridiculous what the list would be.
To sum up, Spain are still number one despite their humiliation in Rio, Germany follow with Colombia (yes, Radamel Falcao and friends) in third.
Brazil jump 13 places to ninth after their Confederations Cup triumph in one of the few movements in the list that makes sense.
You have to feel sorry for Tahiti, though, as they fell 16 places to 154th despite entertaining and wearing their hearts on their sleeves through their time in the tournament in Brazil.
England, meanwhile fall to 15th, which means absolutely nothing except for a few more space-filling columns in this weekend’s papers.
In terms of Europe as a whole, 12 teams make the top 20, including (I’m not kidding) Bosnia & Herzegovina, Greece and Switzerland.
Most will agree that 12 of the top 20 teams being European sounds about right; you just wouldn’t expect some of these teams to be included.
This is exactly the fundamental problem with the FIFA world rankings.
The headlines regarding each announcement are never serious, but rather concern the unusual and often humorous positions that come with each reordering.
Each list has for me that feeling when you start a campaign in FIFA or Pro-Evolution Soccer with a lower league side and are a few seasons later challenging for the Premier League title – something just doesn’t look right.
The list is calculated on a points basis, with the result of a match multiplied by the importance multiplied by the opposing team strength multiplied by the confederation strength.
This formula is obviously far from perfect and doesn’t give an accurate picture of the state of world football.
If FIFA had any sense (and that is as likely as Leo Messi moving to Oxford United), they would stop with this pointless exercise and let the rankings be decided on the pitch every four years at the World Cup.
That’s the only place where the players and the fans want to be top: not in some heavily flawed list.
While at it, I might as well mention that Scotland rank 50th, Wales in 46th, Northern Ireland in 111th and the Republic of Ireland in 44th, meaning Algeria and Burkina Faso both rank higher than all four of them, while only Northern Ireland are listed below Finland, a team that may well even be in Brazil next summer yet find themselves 65th.
So as all expected, the latest rankings show little sense. Don’t expect that to change soon.
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