Wednesday, May 07, 2008

FIFA rankings: May

The May edition of the FIFA rankings were out today. This was a bit surprising to me because I thought they always came out on more of a mid-month schedule, but this shows how little I have been paying attention. The short story is that Canada is up one spot to 62nd. Argentina is still first.

The interesting stuff is happening in the CONCACAF table. Honduras shot up 23 spots to 36th overall, and Guatemala also had a pretty decent bump while Haiti plummeted (27 places).

Now seems as good a time as any to reprise our feature "How unbalanced are these motherf*(king groups?" (this ASCII version of pixelating swear words is still pretty cool, I am told).

But instead of getting hung up on ranking (ordinal placement) I'll use the precious FIFA points that the statistical geeks in Switzerland have worked so hard to come up with.
Country Pts
Group 1
USA 889
Trinidad and Tobago 365
Guatemala 355
Cuba 292
Total 1901
Average 475.25

Group 2
Mexico 988
Honduras 691
Canada 522
Jamaica 313
Total 2514
Average 628.5

Group 3
Panama 497
Costa Rica 419
Guyana 289
Haiti 280
Total 1485
Average 371.25

As you can see by the totals, once again group 2 is far and away the toughest. The averages don't reveal much more, but they allow for a pretty interesting statistical fun. If the average of group 3 was a country, it would slot in at 88th in the full table, just behind China and nosing out Trinidad and Tobago.

Group 1, with its 475.25 points, would be 69th, beating out South Africa by a quarter point, while trailing Zambia and Panama who share 67th.

Group 2, at 628.5, is just ahead of Senegal and Belgium and just behind Morocco. This group 2 averaged side would occupy 46th place.

So in a tournament between Trinidad and Tobago, Panama, and Belgium, who would you choose?

That's what I thought.

Of course, Canada has a chance to pile up all kinds of useless FIFA points when they beat Brazil in Seattle at the end of the month. Or not.

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