Yes, the 2006 World Cup was an exciting event. Thirty two teams around the world competed for soccer's top honor. Brazil gets knocked out early (early for Brazil that is), England made it as far as they usually do (no surprise there), and Italy surprises all with their victories, though they were aided by a lousy penalty kick call for them against Austraila.
And with the World Cup over, the new FIFA rankings come out. I am sure that the level of play that we saw on the field will be represented in the rankings, right?
After the World Cup, FIFA went with a new ranking system. In fact, these are the first rankings that FIFA has done with the system.
There are some good changes to the system. The rankings will only look at the last four years instead of the last eight years of results. Considering that some teams have completely changed faces in the last eight years, this only makes sense.
Still, looking at the changes, it looks just as complex as it was before.
So, lets look at new rankings. Ok, we have Brazil as number one. Uh...ok....I guess that is alright. But I have just come to the conclusion that the soccer community will just automatically pick Brazil as number one. Still, I think they will falter.
Continuing...Italy #2, ok, they won the Cup, can see that. Three...Argentina. I wouldn't give them three, but they should be up there. France #4...I think they should be three.
England fifth! What! England looked horrible in this World Cup! Yet, they are fifth.
Uh, but wait, I am seeing a trend, lets see....England up five spots, Italy up eleven, France up four, Germany up ten, Switzerland up 22! Ukraine up 30! Serbia up 8! Scotland up 19! Bosnia up 20! Wales up 16!
It seems that this new point system give favor to UEFA teams. And guess what? It does. If a team defeats a UEFA team, they are awarded more points than a team that defeats another conference. And since many European teams play other European teams, this new formula will only benefit them.
Lets look at two teams to drive this point home. Ok, he have the mighty Ukrainians! They jumped 30 points. Here were their European wins since 2004: Luxembourg, Albania (in PK), Serbia, Denmark, Albania again, Turkey (impressive). Not exactly powerhouse results. Yet, they lost to France, England, Spain, Italy, The FYR of Macedonia.
Now, lets look at another team, Greece. Greece showed they were a great team by winning Euro 2004. Yet, in the new rankings, they dropped twelve places. Why? Lets look at the results. In the last year, they have only played three European teams. And even before that, Greece did well against European teams. Yet they played a lot more international games that Ukraine.
Therefore, it seems like it is better for your FIFA ranking if you lose to UEFA teams than defeat teams around the world.
And before the critics on here blast me and say 'UEFA is the best', let me just say this...Ukraine move up the rankings by DEFEATING ALBANIA TWICE!!!
With this new system, maybe the United States should scrap their entire schedule and play only in Europe. It seems that losing to the FYR of Macedonia will gain you more international respect than defeating Mexico.
Here are some of the rankings that just surprised me.
Guinea #24, up 27 spots
Australia #33 (should be higher)
Canada #54, up 29 spots
Soca Warriors #64, down 17
Albania #65, up 20 (those matches with the mighty Ukrainians helped)
Equatorial Guinea #95, UP 59! How the hell do you go up that much! Luxembourg must be pissed (look at rankings).