Soccer Club rankings FIFA

Quick, what do you think of when you think of Belgium? Mayonnaise on fries? Mussels? Ardent neutrality?

How about this: world soccer power.

As noted by ESPNFC’s Dale Johnson, Belgium will overtake Argentina and Germany for the No. 1 spot in the FIFA world soccer rankings if it beats Israel at home in a Euro 2016 qualifier on Tuesday.

This is unlikely to cause celebrations in the streets of Brussels because the FIFA rankings — which equally weigh match results, match importance, opponent strength and confederation strength — are dumb. Belgium is getting a rankings bump because it’s currently qualifying for a tournament that includes traditional powers such as Germany, Spain, England and Italy even though it won’t actually play powers like Germany, Spain, England and Italy until Euro 2016 actually begins next June.

Instead, the Belgians are feasting on the opponents in its Euro 2016 qualifying group, a collection of heavyweights that includes Wales (No. 8 in the FIFA rankings despite having appeared in exactly one World Cup, in 1958), Bosnia and Herzegovina, Israel, Cyprus and Andorra.

According to the world soccer Elo rankings — which assign greater weight to success in important international tournaments and qualifiers while also incorporating goal differential and home-field advantage — Belgium is currently 11th with Germany in the top spot.

After spending the first 17 years of his Post career writing and editing, Matt and the printed paper had an amicable divorce in 2014. He's now blogging and editing for the Early Lead and the Post's other Web-based products.

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