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This Alternative Football Ranking System Puts England WAY Above Wales

Sorry, Wales.

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Wales have achieved the extraordinary this week, not only is the nation of just 3 million inhabitants in the top 10 of the FIFA World Rankings, they have gone above England for the first time ever.

Wait, is that a mullet?
Stu Forster / Getty Images

Wait, is that a mullet?

As if that wasn't already brilliant enough for Welsh sport fans, they are also above England in the World Rugby Rankings – just a few weeks away from the Rugby World Cup.

Alex Livesey / Getty Images

But, not to downplay the recent success of the Welsh football team, the FIFA "Coca Cola" World Rankings have been a point of contention in international football for quite some time. Here is the current top 10.

Now... given that Germany won the World Cup just over a year ago, you'd expect them to be at the top of that pile, and certainly above Belgium, who are currently BELOW Wales in their Euro 2016 qualifying group.
FIFA

Now... given that Germany won the World Cup just over a year ago, you'd expect them to be at the top of that pile, and certainly above Belgium, who are currently BELOW Wales in their Euro 2016 qualifying group.

There IS an alternative to the FIFA World Rankings. It's called the ELO World Rankings, and it's based on a formula developed by *consults the internet* Hungarian mathematician Dr. Árpád Élő. It's mainly used to rate chess players.

Who you gonna believe – this guy, or Sepp Blatter?
Creative Commons

Who you gonna believe – this guy, or Sepp Blatter?

The current top 10 of the ELO World Rankings looks like this:

The system takes into account a number of factors that the FIFA ranking system does not.ELO accounts for the following:The goal difference of a match.The rating of the two teams.Home advantage.The result of a match.The expected result of a match.The "weight" of a match (i.e. Friendly, World Cup qualifier, World Cup finals).
Wikipedia

The system takes into account a number of factors that the FIFA ranking system does not.

ELO accounts for the following:

The goal difference of a match.

The rating of the two teams.

Home advantage.

The result of a match.

The expected result of a match.

The "weight" of a match (i.e. Friendly, World Cup qualifier, World Cup finals).

So, where are Wales in this seemingly quite logical set of alternative rankings? Well, somehow they don't even make the top 40.

Wikipedia

But why? Surely this as an outrage of the highest proportions?

Well... no, despite Wales being unbeaten in the Euro 2016 qualifying group, it's all about the nature of their results.Narrowly beating Cyprus, ranked 115th in the ELO World Rankings, doesn't give you many points. And a narrow 2-1 win over Andorra, who are ranked 193rd, also doesn't give you many points in the ELO system.The FIFA ranking system offers far more reward for narrow victories over low-ranked nations, hence Wales' position in the top 10.
Stu Forster / Getty Images

Well... no, despite Wales being unbeaten in the Euro 2016 qualifying group, it's all about the nature of their results.

Narrowly beating Cyprus, ranked 115th in the ELO World Rankings, doesn't give you many points. And a narrow 2-1 win over Andorra, who are ranked 193rd, also doesn't give you many points in the ELO system.

The FIFA ranking system offers far more reward for narrow victories over low-ranked nations, hence Wales' position in the top 10.

  1. Do you think Wales are one of the top 10 football teams in the world right now?

    Correct
    Incorrect
    Yes, 100%
    Correct
    Incorrect
    Any team with Gareth Bale would be in the top 10
    Correct
    Incorrect
    They're close, but not quite
    Correct
    Incorrect
    No, not even close
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Do you think Wales are one of the top 10 football teams in the world right now?
  1.  
    vote votes
    Yes, 100%
  2.  
    vote votes
    Any team with Gareth Bale would be in the top 10
  3.  
    vote votes
    They're close, but not quite
  4.  
    vote votes
    No, not even close
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