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England to drop a further place in the FIFA World Rankings
England can still be seeded for the 2018 World Cup but the FA need to ACT NOW!
- England are due to drop to 13th in the FIFA World Rankings for December despite being unbeaten since Euro 2016. In fact England have only lost two games in the whole of 2016 (Iceland in June and Netherlands in March) but have dropped out of the World top ten and are destined to drop further after the recent set of internationals.
The cause of England losing further ground to the world's best countries?
A bad Euro 2016? Maybe.
Three managers in the last six games? Nope.
Unable to beat Slovenia away? nah-uh.
Losing two late goals in a friendly to Spain? Not really, but the game in itself was the problem.
Let us explain:
For the last two World Cups, FIFA have based their seeding procedure solely on the FIFA Rankings that have preceded the World Cup draw. In the last two occasions it has been the October rankings prior to the December draw. Eight teams will be seeded with the hosts, Russia, one of those seeds. That leaves seven berths left for the top seven ranked qualifying teams. The current ranked seventh team in the FIFA rankings is France on 1305 points for the December rankings. England are 13th on 1114 points.
We won't go into the full details of the woefully inadequate, car crash of formulae that FIFA use to calculate these rankings but let's just say that, in layman's terms, it is averaged out over the last four years. The last 12 calendar months a team retains 100% of the average points garnered, the next 12 months 50%, then 30% and finally the matches played over three years ago only 20%. Anything over four years drops off altogether.
So, for example England's points earned as to December 2016 equates to: 568.56 for the last year, 50% of 595.78 for the previous year, 30% of 523.16 for the one before that and 20% of 455.04 of matches played over three years ago. Total: 1140 and change, which places them thirteenth just behind Wales and one ahead of Croatia.
Some matches are worth more than others; World Cup matches, being the pinnacle of international football, are worth 4 times more than normal friendlies. Euro finals are worth 3 times more and qualifiers for both worth 2.5 times.
For example: England's win over Wales in Euro 2016 garnered 1550.34 points whereas an even more impressive display in the 3-2 win in Germany only was worth 582.12 points. Granted, some matches that England are duty bound to play such as the 2-0 World Cup Qualifier win over Malta in October was only worth 371.25 points.
But the point is that with removing the meaningless friendlies England can improve their World Ranking. If England hadn't played the friendlies in 2016 against Germany, Netherlands and Spain they would have had 1199 points which would have been enough for 9th in the December 2016 rankings. If they hadn't indulged in the Euro 2016 warm-ups as well (all three of which England won, mind), they would now be in 8th position, hot on the tails of the French for that last seeding place.
The point is that friendlies, most of them meaningless, (can anyone tell me why we needed to play Spain four months prior to the next competitive match?) are not worth as many ranking points as competitive games and therefore lower England's average ranking points.
England are already due to play friendlies against Germany and France in 2017. THESE WILL ONLY DILUTE ENGLAND'S RANKING POINTS FURTHER. EVEN WITH A WIN!!!
Please, please, please, we need to have these meaningless friendlies cancelled.
Not convinced? Try this: Wales went 17 months without playing a friendly match from June 2014 to November 2015 and saw their ranking improve from 47th in May 2014 to an all-time high of 8th in October 2015. Whilst this didn't quite help Wales achieve seeding for Euro 2016 the Welsh FA have cottoned on to the fact that in the year prior to a major competition draw, YOU DON'T PLAY ANY FRIENDLIES THAT CAN AVERAGE DOWN YOUR RANKING POINTS. We fully expect the Welsh FA to organise no friendlies between now and the World Cup draw, should they qualify. Because of this tactic, we also predict that Wales, should they qualify WILL BE SEEDED!
Why does all this matter? Simple. England weren't seeded for the 2014 World Cup and were promptly put in a group with Uruguay and Italy. They ended up being knocked out before the eventual winners, Germany, had even played their second match. By our calculations if England hadn't played friendlies (against Sweden, Ireland, Scotland and Brazil twice) in the year prior to the draw in December 2013 they would have been third seeds and would have been drawn with Nigeria, Bosnia & Herzegovina and Iran. Argentina who WERE seeded third went all the way to the final.
If the FA continue with their arranged friendlies then the best, maximum ranking points England can achieve will be 1326. That is if England WIN all their matches in 2017, all six World Cup qualifiers and the two current arranged friendlies. Enough for England to be on the borderline for a seeding place. But it will be touch and go. Remove the arranged friendlies and England could get to 1374 points, which would be a probable fifth place and a guaranteed seed.
Just to prove the point, England could have gone into the World Cup draw as second seeds if they hadn't played any friendlies in 2016 and 2017.
England aren't duty bound to play friendlies. We understand that the FA can recoup a lot of money from friendlies especially with the fantastic support that we see at games such as Malta, Scotland and Spain. But our argument is two fold;
firstly, why are England playing two friendlies against Germany IN Germany within a calendar year. Surely, more income would be generated if one of them was at Wembley.
Secondly, wouldn't the demand for England tickets be even higher if the team managed to do well in a tournament? We all remember the euphoria after 1990 and 1996. Play as many friendlies as you like after England win the World Cup. The whole world will want to play them. But leading into a World Cup, wouldn't you want to try and help them as much as possible?
We hear of player's such as Wayne Rooney and Jordan Henderson saying England need to be more "Streetwise". Maybe the FA can be more "Streetwise" too.
- Posted: 15th November 2016 11:51pm