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FIFA World Ranking


FIFA World Ranking

This article is about the men's rankings. For the women's rankings, see FIFA Women's World Rankings.
Top 20 Rankings as of 17 October 2013[1]
Rank Team Points
1  Spain 1513
2  Germany 1311
3  Argentina 1266
4  Colombia 1178
5  Belgium 1175
6  Uruguay 1164
7   Switzerland 1138
8  Netherlands 1136
8  Italy 1136
10  England 1080
11  Brazil 1078
12  Chile 1051
13  United States 1040
14  Portugal 1036
15  Greece 983
16  Bosnia and Herzegovina 925
17  Ivory Coast 917
18  Croatia 901
19  Russia 874
20  Ukraine 871
Complete rankings at

The FIFA World Ranking is a ranking system for men's national teams in association football, currently led by Spain. The teams of the member nations of FIFA, football's world governing body, are ranked based on their game results with the most successful teams being ranked highest. The rankings were introduced in December 1992, and seven teams (Argentina, Brazil, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain) have held the top position, of which Brazil have spent longest ranked first.

A points system is used, with points being awarded based on the results of all FIFA-recognised full international matches. Under the existing system, rankings are based on a team's performance over the last four years, with more recent results and more significant matches being more heavily weighted to help reflect the current competitive state of a team. The ranking system was most recently revamped after the 2006 World Cup, with the first edition of the new series of rankings issued on 12 July 2006. The most significant change is that the rankings are now based on results over the previous four years instead of the previous eight years. The change is perceived to respond to criticisms that the FIFA World Rankings, based upon the previous calculation method in use from January 1999 to June 2006, did not effectively reflect the relative strengths of the national teams.

Alternative systems have been devised, such as the World Football Elo Ratings, based on the Elo rating system used in chess and Go, ranking teams on an all time basis. The Unofficial Football World Championships ranks teams on the number of times they have defended the Unofficial Football World Championship, an award devised solely for that purpose.


In December 1992, FIFA first published a listing in rank order of its member associations to provide a basis for comparison of the relative strengths of these teams. From the following August, this list was more frequently updated, to be published most months.[2] Significant changes were implemented in January 1999 and again in July 2006, as a reaction to criticisms of the system.[3] Historical records of the rankings, such as listed at, reflect the method of calculation in use at the time, as the current method has not been applied retrospectively to rankings prior to July 2006. Membership of FIFA has expanded from 167 to 208 since the rankings began; all 208 members are currently included in the rankings.

1993–1998 calculation method

The ranking formula used from August 1993 until December 1998 was very simplistic and quickly became noticed for its lack of supporting factors. When the rankings were initially introduced, a team received 1 point for a draw or 3 for a victory in FIFA-recognised matches – much the same as a traditional league scoring system. This was a quite simplistic approach, however, and FIFA quickly realised that there were many factors affecting international matches.

1999 ranking system update

In order to meet the objective of fairly and accurately comparing the relative strengths of various national sides, the system was updated in 1999. The major changes were as follows:

  • the point ranking was scaled up by a factor of ten
  • the method of calculation was changed to take into account factors including:
    • the number of goals scored or conceded
    • whether the match was played at home or away
    • the importance of a match or competition
    • regional strength
  • a fixed number of points were no longer necessarily awarded for a victory or a draw
  • match losers were able to earn points

Two new awards were introduced as part of the system:

The changes made the ranking system more complex, but helped improve its accuracy by making it more comprehensive.

1999–2006 calculation method

In January 1999, FIFA introduced a revised system of ranking calculation, incorporating many changes in response to criticism of inappropriate rankings. For the ranking all matches, their scores and importance were all recorded, and were used in the calculation procedure. Only matches for the senior men's national team were included. Separate ranking systems were used for other representative national sides such as women's and junior teams, for example the FIFA Women's World Rankings. The women's rankings were, and still are, based on a procedure which is a simplified version of the Football Elo Ratings.[4]

2006 ranking system update

FIFA announced that the ranking system would be updated following the 2006 World Cup. The evaluation period was cut from eight to four years, and a simpler method of calculation is now used to determine rankings.[5] Goals scored and home or away advantage are no longer taken into account, and other aspects of the calculations, including the importance attributed to different types of match, have been revised. The first set of revised rankings and the calculation methodology were announced on 12 July 2006.

This change is rooted at least in part in widespread criticism of the previous ranking system. Many football enthusiasts felt it was inaccurate, especially when compared to other ranking systems and that it was not sufficiently responsive to changes in the performance of individual teams.

Rank leaders

FIFA World Ranking Leaders

ImageSize = width:140 height:800 PlotArea = left:40 right:0 bottom:10 top:10 DateFormat = dd/mm/yyyy Period = from:08/08/1993 till:08/08/2013 ScaleMajor = unit:year increment:1 start:1994

TimeAxis = orientation:vertical format:yyyy

Colors =

 id:Spain       value:rgb(0.8, 0,    0)
 id:Brasil      value:rgb(1,   0.84, 0.19) 
 id:Italy       value:rgb(0,   0.4,  0.73)
 id:Argentina   value:rgb(0.2, 0.8,  1)
 id:Germany     value:rgb(1,   1,    1)
 id:France      value:rgb(0,   0.1,  0.4)
 id:Netherlands value:rgb(1,   0.35, 0)
 id:Portugal    value:rgb(0,   0.5,  0)


 bar:Leaders width:25 mark:(line,black) align:left fontsize:S 
 from:08/08/1993 till:23/09/1993 shift:(20,-8) text:"Germany" color:Germany
 from:23/09/1993 till:19/11/1993 shift:(20,-5) text:"Brazil" color:Brasil
 from:19/11/1993 till:23/12/1993 shift:(20,-2) text:"Italy" color:Italy
 from:23/12/1993 till:19/04/1994 shift:(20,-4) text:"Germany" color:Germany
 from:19/04/1994 till:14/06/1994 shift:(20,-7) text:"Brazil" color:Brasil
 from:14/06/1994 till:21/07/1994 shift:(20,-3) text:"Germany" color:Germany
 from:21/07/1994 till:16/05/2001 shift:(20,0) text:"Brazil" color:Brasil
 from:16/05/2001 till:03/07/2002 shift:(20,-1) text:"France" color:France
 from:03/07/2002 till:14/02/2007 shift:(20,0) text:"Brazil" color:Brasil
 from:14/02/2007 till:14/03/2007 shift:(20,-10) text:"Italy" color:Italy
 from:14/03/2007 till:18/04/2007 shift:(20,-5) text:"Argentina" color:Argentina
 from:18/04/2007 till:18/07/2007 shift:(20,-5) text:"Italy" color:Italy
 from:18/07/2007 till:19/09/2007 shift:(20,-6) text:"Brazil" color:Brasil
 from:19/09/2007 till:24/10/2007 shift:(20,-3) text:"Italy" color:Italy
 from:24/10/2007 till:02/07/2008 shift:(20,-5) text:"Argentina" color:Argentina
 from:02/07/2008 till:01/07/2009 shift:(20,-6) text:"Spain" color:Spain
 from:01/07/2009 till:20/11/2009 shift:(20,-5) text:"Brazil" color:Brasil
 from:20/11/2009 till:28/04/2010 shift:(20,-5) text:"Spain" color:Spain
 from:28/04/2010 till:14/07/2010 shift:(20,-4) text:"Brazil" color:Brasil
 from:14/07/2010 till:24/08/2011 shift:(20,0) text:"Spain" color:Spain
 from:24/08/2011 till:21/09/2011 shift:(20,-5) text:"Netherlands" color:Netherlands
 from:21/09/2011 till:end shift:(20,0) text:"Spain" color:Spain

When the system was introduced, Germany debuted as the top-ranked team following their extended period of dominance in which they had reached the three previous FIFA World Cup finals, winning one of them. Brazil took the lead in the run up to the 1994 FIFA World Cup after winning eight and losing only one of nine qualification matches, while on the way scoring twenty goals and conceding just four. Italy then led for a short time on the back of their own equally successful World Cup qualifying campaign, after which the top place was re-claimed by Germany.

Brazil's success in their lengthy qualifying campaign returned them to the lead for a brief period. Germany led again during the 1994 World Cup, until Brazil’s victory in that competition gave them a large lead that would stand up for nearly seven years, until they were surpassed by a strong France team that captured both the 1998 FIFA World Cup and the 2000 European Football Championship. Success at the 2002 FIFA World Cup restored Brazil to the top position, where they remained until February 2007, when Italy returned to the top for the first time since 1993 following their 2006 FIFA World Cup win in Germany. Just one month later, Argentina replaced them, reaching the top for the first time, but Italy regained its place in April. After winning the Copa América 2007 in July, Brazil returned to the top, but were replaced by Argentina in October. In July 2008, Spain took over the lead for the first time, having won UEFA Euro 2008. Brazil began a sixth stint at the top of the rankings in July 2009 after winning the 2009 Confederations Cup, and Spain regained the title in November 2009 after winning every match in qualification for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. In April 2010, Brazil returned to the top of the table. After winning the 2010 World Cup, Spain regained the top position and held it until August 2011, when The Netherlands reached the top spot for the first time,[6] only to relinquish it the following month.

Uses of the rankings

The rankings are used by FIFA to rank the progression and current ability of the national football teams of its member nations, and claims that they create "a reliable measure for comparing national A-teams".[2] They are used as part of the calculation, or the entire grounds to seed competitions. In the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualification tournament, the rankings were used to seed the groups in the competitions involving CONCACAF members (using the May rankings), CAF (with the July set of data), and UEFA, using the specially postponed November 2007 ranking positions. The October 2009 ranking was used to determine the seeds for the 2010 FIFA World Cup final draw.[7] The March 2011 ranking was used to seed the draw for the 2012 CAF Men's Pre-Olympic Tournament second qualifying round.[8]

The rankings are also used to determine the winners of the two annual awards national teams receive on the basis of their performance in the rankings.


Since their introduction in 1992, the FIFA World Rankings have been the matter of much debate, particularly regarding the calculation procedure and the resulting disparity between generally perceived quality and world ranking of some teams. For example Norway was ranked second in October 1993 and July–August 1995,[9] and the United States reached fourth in 2006, to the surprise of even their own players.[10] However, criticism regarding the unrealistic ranking continued even after the introduction of the new formula. Israel's climb to 15th in November 2008 raised a few eyebrows even in the Israeli press,[11][12][13] with the team missing a huge opportunity to break into the top 10 after conceding a last gasp equaliser against Latvia.[14]

Prior to July 2006, one of the main criticisms was that the rankings considered the performances of teams over an eight-year period, and that teams' ranking positions did not correlate to their recent performances.[9][15] This criticism has lessened somewhat with the introduction of a new formula, reflecting results over a four-year period, introduced in July 2006. However, problems remain, particularly that hosts of some major tournaments do not take part in qualifying rounds, and instead participate only in friendlies which offer fewer points. This has been a factor which has resulted in World Cup 2014 hosts Brazil falling to a record low ranking of 22nd in the world.[16][17] The perceived flaws in the FIFA system have led to the creation of a number of alternative rankings from football statisticians,[9] including the World Football Elo Ratings and the Statistics Foundation rankings.

Current calculation method

After the 2006 FIFA World Cup, a revised calculation procedure for the FIFA rankings was introduced, with a significantly simplified procedure. The new rankings were compiled in response to criticism from the media.[2] Meetings were attended by FIFA staff and external experts and a large amount of research was conducted by this group, resulting in the new ranking system.[2] The new system was confirmed in Leipzig on 7 December 2005 by a committee of FIFA executives. Notable changes include the dropping of the home or away advantage and number of goals from the calculation, and the simplification of many aspects of the system.

The system, like the previous ones, is extremely similar to that of a league, though with changes made to ensure that it is still representative of the teams' performance despite playing differing numbers of matches per annum, and the differing strength of opposition that teams have to face. The factors taken into account are as follows:

  • Match result
  • Match status
  • Opposition strength
  • Regional strength

Teams' actual scores are a result of the average points gained over each calendar year; matches from the previous four years are considered, with more weight being given to recent ones.

International "A" matches

In October 2012, FIFA released a press circular defining what is considered to be an international "A" match.

For the purposes of the ranking, FIFA defines an international "A" match as a match between two FIFA members for which both members field their first representative team ("A" team).

The FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking is based on a list of all international "A" matches that are recognised by FIFA.

International "A" matches include matches played as part of the FIFA World Cup, FIFA World Cup qualifiers, FIFA Confederations Cup, continental final tournaments, continental qualifying competitions and international friendlies.

—Jerome Valcke,[18]

Win, draw or defeat

In previous years a complicated system of points allocation was used, depending on how strong the opponent was, and how large the loss margin, which allowed weaker losing teams to gain points when playing a much stronger opposition, if they managed to put up a decent match. With the new system, the points allocation is simpler: three points for a win, one point for a draw, and zero points for a loss, in line with most league systems around the world.

In the event of a match being decided by a penalty shootout, the winning team receives two points, and the losing team one point.

Result Points
Win (no penalty shootout) 3
Win (penalty shootout) 2
Draw 1
Loss (penalty shootout) 1
Loss (no penalty shootout) 0

Until November 2012, in two-legged play-offs, if Team A lost the first leg 2 – 0, then matched the result in the return leg and won after a penalty shootout, it received two points. However, if Team A won the return leg by one goal only, being eliminated in the process, it received 3 points.[19] FIFA fixed this flaw starting with the November 2012 ranking.[20][21]

Match status

Different matches have different importance to teams, and FIFA has tried to respect this by using a weighting system, where the most significant matches are in the World Cup finals,[22] and the lowest weighted are friendly matches. FIFA states that it wishes to recognise that friendlies are still important, since they make up half of the competitive matches counted in the rankings.[23] FIFA also stated, however, that it did not plan to make any adjustment for teams that qualify directly for major tournaments.[24][25]

The match status multipliers are as follows:

Match status Multiplier
Friendly match x 1.0
FIFA World Cup and Continental cup qualifiers x 2.5
Continental cup and Confederations Cup finals x 3.0
World Cup finals match x 4.0

Opponent strength

Obviously, a win against a very highly ranked opponent is a considerably greater achievement than a win against a low-rated opponent, so the strength of the opposing team is a factor.

The new system uses an opposition strength factor based on team rankings. The previous system was based on points difference.

The formula used is:

\text{Opposition strength multiplier} = \frac{200-\text{ranking position}}{100}

with the exceptions that the team ranked #1 is given a multiplier of 2.00, and teams ranked 150th and below are assigned the minimum multiplier of 0.50.

  • Example 1: the opposition team is currently ranked 8th in the world:
so the opposition strength multiplier is 1.92
  • Example 2: the opposition team is currently ranked 125th in the world:
so the opposition strength multiplier is 0.75
  • Example 3: the opposition team is currently ranked 188th in the world:
Below 150th, so the opposition strength multiplier is the minimum 0.50

The ranking position is taken from the opposition's ranking in the most recently published FIFA World Ranking before the match is included in the ranking calculation.[26]

The rankings published before July 2006 are purely historical and are not used for the new ranking calculation. Instead, FIFA went back as far as 1996 to apply the new formula and is using those new rankings for the current calculations.[27]

See the detailed break-down of point totals for teams from the top 20 in the October 2007 rankings.[28]

Regional strength

In addition to the opposition strength multiplier, FIFA considers the relative strength of entire confederations in the calculation. Each confederation is assigned a weighting between 0.85 and 1.0, based on the relative performance of the confederations in the last three World Cups. Their values are as follows:[29][30]

Confederation After 2010 World Cup After 2006 World Cup Up to and including 2006 World Cup
UEFA (Europe) 1.00 1.00 1.00
CONMEBOL (South America) 1.00 0.98 1.00
CONCACAF (North and Central America and Caribbean) 0.88 0.85 0.88
AFC (Asia) 0.86 0.85 0.85
CAF (Africa) 0.86 0.85 0.85
OFC (Oceania) 0.85 0.85 0.85

The multiplier used in the calculation is the average of the regional strength weighting of the two teams:

\text{Regional strength multiplier} = \frac{\text{Team 1 regional weighting} + \text{Team 2 regional weighting}}{2}

FIFA changed the formula used to compute the confederation weightings after the 2010 FIFA World Cup without public announcement.[31]

The confederation weighting for AFC was increased in August 2011 from 0.85 to 0.86.[32]

Assessment period

Matches played over the last four years (48 months) are included in the calculation, but there is a weighting to put more emphasis on recent results. Previously an eight-year period was used. The date weighting is as follows:

Date of match Multiplier
Within the last 12 months × 1.0
12–24 months ago × 0.5
24–36 months ago × 0.3
36–48 months ago × 0.2

Two teams have been temporarily absent from the rankings list having exceeded four years without playing a match: São Tomé and Príncipe (removed in December 2007, reinstated in November 2011) and Papua New Guinea (removed in July 2011, reinstated in September 2011).

Ranking formula

The final ranking points figure for a single match is multiplied by 100 and rounded to the nearest whole number.

\text{Ranking points} = 100 \times \left( \text{Result points} \times \text{Match status} \times \text{Opposition strength} \times \text{Regional strength} \right)

Results for all matches played in the year are averaged together (assuming at least five matches have been played). The average ranking points for the four previous years, weighted by their multiplier mentioned above, are added together to arrive at the final ranking points.


The following examples use these hypothetical teams and confederations, and assume the games are played within the last 12 months:

  • Amplistan is currently ranked 2nd in the world and is a member of confederation XYZ (weighting 1.0);
  • Bestrudia is currently ranked 188th in the world and is a member of confederation ABC (weighting 0.88);
  • Conesto is currently ranked 39th in the world and is a member of confederation QRS (weighting 0.98);
  • Delphiz is currently ranked 30th in the world and is a member of confederation HIJ (weighting 0.94).

A friendly match is played between Amplistan and Bestrudia. Amplistan wins 2–1.

Match Team Result points Match status Opposition strength Regional strength Ranking points
Amplistan vs. Bestrudia (friendly)
Result: 2–1

Bestrudia gets no ranking points because it lost the game, so all factors are multiplied by zero.

Amplistan's 141 ranking points are calculated like this:

  • 3 points for the win;
  • multiplied by 1.0 for match status (friendly match);
  • multiplied by 0.50 for opposition strength (Bestrudia is ranked 188th, so it has the minimum 0.50 weighting);
  • multiplied by 0.94 for regional strength (the average of the weightings for the two teams' confederations);
  • multiplied by 100.

More examples:

Match Team Result points Match status Opposition strength Regional strength Ranking points
Amplistan vs. Bestrudia (friendly)
Result: 1–2
Amplistan vs. Bestrudia (friendly)
Result: 1–1
Amplistan vs. Bestrudia (World Cup finals)
Result: 2–1
Amplistan vs. Bestrudia (World Cup finals)
Result: 1–1 (Bestrudia wins on penalties)
Amplistan vs. Conesto (friendly)
Result: 1–2
Conesto vs. Delphiz (Continental cup qualifiers)
Result: 4–0
Conesto vs. Delphiz (Continental cup qualifiers)
Result: 0–1
Conesto vs. Amplistan (World Cup finals)
Result: 0–0 (Amplistan wins on penalties)

Conesto gets more points than Bestrudia for defeating the same team (Amplistan) because of the higher weighting of its confederation.


Each year FIFA hands out two awards to its member nations, based on their performance in the rankings. They are:

Team of the Year

Team of the Year is awarded to the team that finishes top of the FIFA World Ranking. For the fifth year in a row, the reigning world and European champions Spain are the Team of the Year, but Brazil holds the record with seven consecutive years (between 1994-2000) and is also what lasted longer (12 times at the top). The table below shows the three best teams of each year.[33]

Main article: FIFA World Rankings Yearly Top 10
Year First place Second place Third place
1993  Germany  Italy  Brazil
1994  Brazil  Spain  Sweden
1995  Brazil  Germany  Italy
1996  Brazil  Germany  France
1997  Brazil  Germany  Czech Republic
1998  Brazil  France  Germany
1999  Brazil  Czech Republic  France
2000  Brazil  France  Argentina
2001  France  Argentina  Brazil
2002  Brazil  France  Spain
2003  Brazil  France  Spain
2004  Brazil  France  Argentina
2005  Brazil  Czech Republic  Netherlands
2006  Brazil  Italy  Argentina
2007  Argentina  Brazil  Italy
2008  Spain  Germany  Netherlands
2009  Spain  Brazil  Netherlands
2010  Spain  Netherlands  Germany
2011  Spain  Netherlands  Germany
2012  Spain  Germany  Argentina

Best Mover of the Year

The Best Mover of the Year was awarded to the team who made the best progress up the rankings over the course of the year. In the FIFA rankings, this is not simply the team that has risen the most places, but a calculation is performed in order to account for the fact that it becomes progressively harder to earn more points the higher up the rankings a team is.[2] The calculation used is the number of points the team has at the end of the year (z) multiplied by the number of points it earned during the year (y). The team with the highest index on this calculation received the award. The table below shows the top three best movers from each year.[34][35]

The award has not been an official part of the awards since 2006.

Year First place Second place Third place
1993  Colombia  Portugal  Morocco
1994  Croatia  Brazil  Uzbekistan
1995  Jamaica  Trinidad and Tobago  Czech Republic
1996  South Africa  Paraguay  Canada
1997  Yugoslavia  Bosnia and Herzegovina  Iran
1998  Croatia  France  Argentina
1999  Slovenia  Cuba  Uzbekistan
2000  Nigeria  Honduras  Cameroon
2001  Costa Rica  Australia  Honduras
2002  Senegal  Wales  Brazil
2003  Bahrain  Oman  Turkmenistan
2004  China PR  Uzbekistan  Ivory Coast
2005  Ghana  Ethiopia   Switzerland
2006  France  Germany  Italy

While an official award has not been made for movements since 2006, FIFA has released a list of the 'Best Movers' in the rankings since 2007.[36] An example of the informal on-going "Mover of the Year" award is the recognition made by FIFA to Colombia in 2012 in an official press release.[37] However, the calculation methodology had changed to the difference in ranking points over the course of the year (rather than the methodology used in the official award from 1993 to 2006). The results for latter years are based on a similar methodology.

Year Best mover Second best Third best
2007  Mozambique  Norway  New Caledonia
2008  Spain  Montenegro  Russia
2009  Brazil  Algeria  Slovenia
2010  Netherlands  Montenegro  Botswana
2011  Wales  Sierra Leone  Bosnia and Herzegovina
2012  Colombia  Ecuador  Mali

Ranking schedule

Rankings are published monthly, usually on a Thursday. The deadline for the matches to be considered is usually the Thursday prior to the release date, but after major tournaments, all games up to the final are included.[38]

Rankings Schedule 2013
Release Date
11 April
9 May
6 June
4 July
8 August
12 September
17 October
28 November
19 December

See also

Notes and references

External links

  • FIFA World Ranking
  • RSSSF)
  • How the FIFA men's rankings are calculated
  • Interactive world map of the FIFA rankings


Template:Sport world rankings

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