Here's the top 20 in full:
4. Czech Republic
19. Costa Rica
21. Republic of Ireland
Interesting. But how does it work?
Over to FIFA:
"Since its introduction, the FIFA/Coca-Cola Ranking has proved to be a reliable measure for comparing national A-teams..."
If you say so...
"Taken into consideration for the ranking are all international-A match results over a time span of the last eight years:
- World Cup finals matches
- World Cup preliminary matches
- FIFA Confederations Cup matches
- Continental championship final matches
- Continental championship preliminary matches
- Friendly matches"
"The ranking list is produced by a computer program which assigns a team points for every match, according to clearly defined criteria. The factors taken into consideration are:
- Winning, drawing and losing
- Number of goals
- Home or away match
- Importance of the match (multiplication factor)
- Regional strength (multiplication factor)
For each team only the seven best results per year are given full weighting. Results from the past are given progressively less weighting year by year until after eight years they are dropped completely. In this way current success is rated more highly than past results."
Ah... those tricky multiplication factors. I imagine Costa Rica must play a lot of important games then, yeah?
"The factors used are:
- Friendly match x 1.00
- Continental championship preliminary x 1.50
- World Cup preliminary match x 1.50
- Continental championship finals match x 1.75
- FIFA Confederations Cup match x 1.75
- World Cup finals match x 2.00
This means that qualifying matches are weighted 50% higher than friendlies, continental final round matches 75 % higher and matches during World Cup finals twice as much."
Right. Anything else we need to know?
"For 2005, the following weighting factors will apply:
- UEFA x 1.00
- CONMEBOL x 0.99
- CAF x 0.96
- CONCACAF x 0.94
- AFC x 0.93
- OFC x 0.93"
And the result of all that effort?? A table that is essentially a load of old cobblers.
I bet the average fan could write out a list of who they thought would make the last 8 of the World Cup, and it would be more accurate.
Good old FIFA, though eh?