FIFA ranking, how is it calculated? Formula e because Belgium is always first

The Belgium came out of the final stages of UEFA Nations League with a double defeat. First the elimination by France, after having been in the lead by two goals, then the 2-1 suffered by Italy in the final for the third-fourth place of the competition.

Despite the two setbacks, one thing will not change yet for the Red Devils: the record in FIFA ranking. The ranking is very important, because it will also be used to determine the seeded national teams of the various groups of the next World Cup, scheduled in Qatar in 2022.

Among the most popular questions from fans, why the national team led by Martinez is constantly at the top of the ranking despite never having raised a trophy (except for a gold at the 1920 Olympics) is certainly a very topical issue.

FIFA ranking how to calculate – The revolution of 2018

The answer, although not so simple, is found in the calculation method used by FIFA to draw up the ranking of the national teams. A method revised in 2018 and “developed over two years during which a large number of different algorithms were tested and discussed extensively», Reads the methodology.

The new calculation method called “Elo” adds / subtracts points (as opposed to the average of the points) for individual matches to / from total existing score of a national team. The points that are added or subtracted are partially determined by the relative strength of the two opponents, including the logical expectation that the higher-ranked teams will fare better against the lower-ranked teams.

The same method was revised for:

  • Give less importance to friendlies and more importance to the final stages of competitions such as the FIFA World Cup;
  • Give more importance to knockout stage matches than group stage matches;
  • Exclude from the calculation the losses in the single elimination matches of the final stages of the competitions

FIFA ranking how to calculate – The new formula

Hence the formula for calculating the score of each individual national team in the FIFA ranking: P=Pprecedenti+I*(W-We). In short, the new points are determined by the starting points, to which the result deriving from the multiplication of the coefficient I (importance of the match) by W-We is added, i.e. the result of the match (1 point the victory, 0.5 the draw and 0 defeat) minus the expected result (determined in turn by the result of the mathematical formula 1 / (10-DR + 1), where DR stands for the difference in the scores of the national teams that face each other before the game).

This is the coefficient linked to each type of match:

  • I = 05 Friendlies played outside the International Match Calendar windows
  • I = 10 friendly matches played during international match calendar windows
  • I = 15 Nations League group stage matches
  • I = 25 Nations League Play-offs and Finals
  • I = 25 qualifying matches for the finals of continental tournaments and for the finals of the FIFA World Cup
  • I = 35 matches from the final stages of continental tournaments up to the quarter-finals
  • I = 40 matches of the final stages of continental tournaments from the quarter-finals onwards; all FIFA Confederations Cup matches
  • I = 50 matches from the finals of the FIFA World Cup to the quarter-finals
  • I = 60 FIFA World Cup finals matches from the quarter-finals onwards

Among the advantages identified by FIFA for the new calculation method, there is for example a slower transformation of the ranking over time. In addition, more chances to climb the rankings are also offered to Nationals belonging to smaller Confederations than – for example – to the European or South American ones.

FIFA ranking how to calculate – The primacy of Belgium, explained

Finally, it was decided to give greater importance to some types of matches than friendlies, with a further distinction between friendlies played inside or outside the international calendar. But back to Belgium, what keeps the Red Devils at the top of the table?

Continuity is certainly a factor, given that since the introduction of the new system (after the conclusion of the 2018 World Cup) Belgium has played 39 matches, putting together 30 wins, 4 draws and 5 defeats.

With the exception of the last two defeats (which will bring the pursuers closer) and not considering two of the four draws, obtained in friendly matches, Belgium has practically always won. The most “painful” defeats in terms of ranking remain that of EURO 2020 with Italy and two group stage games of Nations League.

The continuity of results – often with round scores -, especially in the matches valid for qualifying for the European or the World Cup (15 wins and a draw in the last 16 races) has rewarded the Red Devils, which for this reason have so far managed to maintain the primacy.

FIFA ranking how to calculate – Italian ambitions

The same continuity, which for example Italy has had in recent years, has in fact helped the Azzurri to climb the ranking and move into the top 5. The difference with Martinez’s national team lies in the fact that Italy has started much longer. far (18th place at the end of 2020) compared to Belgium, but nothing prevents Mancini’s team from aiming for the top.

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