Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Fifa rankings: Spotlight Bangladesh

FIFA today released its January rankings of men's national team sides. It hasn't been a particularly busy period, so not much change from the previous edition of the rankings. The new top 10 is:
1 Brazil 0 839 -1
2 Czech Republic 0 796 0
3 Netherlands 0 790 -1
4 Argentina 0 772 0
5 Spain 0 768 0
5 France 0 768 0
7 Mexico -2 767 -1
7 USA 1 767 0
9 England 0 757 0
10 Portugal 0 753 -1

The only movement in this group is Mexico dropping from a 5th place tie with Spain and France into a 7th place tie with the U.S.

The biggest movers upwards were India (9 spots) and Bangladesh (19). It reveals something of how the FIFA rankings work to see how the points were earned. In the ranking period (13 December 2005 to 12 January 2006), Bangladesh played four matches, as part of the SAFF Cup (a friendly tournament in Pakistan), and the Asian Nations Cup.

The results: A 1-0 friendly win over Pakistan, a 2-0 loss to India (SAFF Cup), a 0-0 draw against Pakistan in Dhaka, and a 1-0 win over Pakistan in Karachi (Asian Cup). In other words, Bangladesh jumped nearly 20 spots for 2 wins and a draw against a Pakistan team which in the December rankings was only 2 spots higher, and a 2-0 neutral site loss to an India squad which is harldy a world-beater.

Lesson: it pays to play 4 matches in a month, especially if you win a few.

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