Wednesday, October 18, 2006

FIFA rankings: Spotlight on Jamaica

The October edition of the FIFA men's rankings are out, and the top 20 looks like this:

Rank Team Pts:
Oct 06
+/-Rank
Sep 06
+/-Pts:
Sep 06
1 Brazil 1560 0 -14
2 Italy 1540 3 66
3 France 1483 -1 -51
4 Argentina 1446 -1 -46
5 England 1370 -1 -107
6 Germany 1339 2 48
7 Netherlands 1313 -1 -14
8 Czech Republic 1253 -1 -59
9 Portugal 1224 0 -48
10 Spain 1198 0 -57
11 Nigeria 1139 0 -27
12 Cameroon 1110 0 48
13 Ukraine 1054 0 25
14 Greece 979 8 146
15 Switzerland 978 -1 -38
16 Sweden 975 2 87
17 Uruguay 903 -2 -57
18 Côte d'Ivoire 893 1 14
19 Mexico 882 -2 -9
19 Croatia 882 5 57

As is often the case, the more interesting stories are found a little lower in the table. This month, I've directed my attention to Jamaica's surprising 20-place jump in the rankings, to 57th. With 3 wins and a loss during the most recent window, this seems to make sense. But look a little closer at their results:
Jamaica (JAM) 2:1 (2:1) Canada (CAN)
Friendly 2006 KINGSTON JAMAICA - 08.10.2006
Jamaica (JAM) 2:0 (2:0) Haiti (HAI)
Gold Cup 2007 > Qualifying CARIBBEAN Zone KINGSTON JAMAICA - 01.10.2006
Jamaica (JAM) 1:2 (0:0) St. Vincent and the Grenadines (VIN)
Gold Cup 2007 > Qualifying CARIBBEAN Zone KINGSTON JAMAICA - 29.09.2006
Jamaica (JAM) 4:0 (4:0) St. Lucia (LCA)
Gold Cup 2007 > Qualifying CARIBBEAN Zone KINGSTON JAMAICA - 27.09.2006

Going in reverse chronological order, we have a friendly win over Canada, a side ranked 6 spots higher than Jamaica in September (Jamaica was 77th, Canada 71st). A home friendly win over a similarly ranked team has a negligible effect on points accumulated, as seen by the opposite result, a 1:0 victory for Canada over Jamaica in Montreal in September, which didn't shoot the Canadians up the rankings.

It is the first 3 results, then, that did the job. Scorelines of 2:0 and 4:0 are impressive, but keep in mind that, in September's rankings Haiti and St. Lucia were ranked 118th and 115th respectively. A loss at home, in a regional qualifier, to St. Vincent and Grenadines (129th in September) is a terrible result, and yet it was not enough to prevent a jump nearly into the top 50.

That Jamaica failed to qualify for the Gold Cup from their group, which they hosted, is an enormous failure, and yet they are rewarded with one of the biggest jumps of the month.

The mind boggles.

1 comment:

Leon said...

Hey. don't insult my homeland. Whether we hosted it or not is irrelevant.