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Wednesday, November 22, 2006

FIFA Fantasy Rankings

FIFA just released their monthly rankings. The USA has dropped to 31st place. Before the World Cup, the Americans were ranked at the lofty but unrealistic position as 5th best in the world. The team has not played a game since Germany, and still does not have a coach. The domestic mainstream media, many of whom don't follow soccer except during the World Cup, promoted the #5 ranking as if it meant something. It didn't. Even Coach Bruce Arena, when asked at the time about the ranking, said "We are somewhere between 6th and 60th."

I was reading a very interesting blog called Soccer by Ives. Today, Mr. Galarcep discussed the FIFA rankings in detail. Along with some good commentary that Mr. Sepp Blatter et al probably would not enjoy. But the powers that be at FIFA would greatly benefit from the analysis about the flaws in their system.

A few years ago, a friend introduced me to another ranking system. It was originally developed to rank world chess players; however, about ten years ago, it was converted to rate World Football. It is called the ELO Ratings, and offers a different perspective than the FIFA fantasy league. ;-)

I like this system for two reasons: 1) They update their rankings after every international game, and 2) You can trace the entire national team history of your favorite country. As with any ranking system, it is open to debate. Presently, they list Brasil at the top. Check it out for a different view on the ratings game.

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