USA FIFA World rankings

_85339640_tableFIFA unveiled the September-edition of its world soccer rankings amid this week’s international break and, naturally, we were all reminded of how useless it is.

Here’s how the rankings currently stand:

The reason for the dysfunction starts and ends with the ranking formula, which is actually pretty simple:

Ranking Points = Match Result x Importance of Match x Strength of Opponent x Strength of confederation

The good thing about the formula is that it accounts for basically everything, which essentially means there’ll always be something that counts either for or against you. But by weighing all those factors equally it skews the results heavily in favor of certain territories, through no fault of their own. It also leaves no room for any kind of common sense or expert opinion, which we all know is sorely lacking within FIFA.

It doesn’t really self-correct, either. Chile moved into the top 10 after winning the Copa America because the competition features teams like Brazil and Argentina, even though that didn’t really affect Chile. They were seeded into an easy group away from the superpowers, and beat Peru in the semi-finals before scraping past Argentina in a penalty shootout in the final.

The same thing is happening with Wales and Romania. Both of those teams are raking-in major points in the “importance of match” and “strength of confederation” categories because they’re competing alongside teams like Germany in the European Championship Qualifiers. But it’s not like they’re competing against them.

(AFP PHOTO / RODRIGO ARANGUA)Wales and Romania were seeded into different groups, away from the likes of Germany, which means they’re getting tons of points for beating up on terrible teams like Andorra, Cyprus, and the Faroe Islands. Even Wales, who were seeded into the same group as Belgium, gets most of its points from putting down the smaller opponents in the group. The already-exempt France, meanwhile, is hosting the tournament and therefore isn’t playing. They’ve dropped all the way down to 24th as a result, behind teams like Algeria and Iceland, and just one spot ahead of Albania.

Chile is pretty good at soccer. Wales and Romania are decent. All three are in the top ten, which is proof FIFA’s ranking system is not. Add it to the list of things the new FIFA President needs to fix.

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