FIFA Ranking in the World

Each month, FIFA announces the best National Teams from the previous 12 months. Most football fans, however, have no idea how the FIFA Ranking works.

Since its founding in December 1992, there has always been an innate desire among both football fans and professionals to understand what goes into ranking a team.

The apparent comprehension is that ranking is a framework used to differentiate between the most successful teams based on their results. And this is classified as a points system, because points are awarded depend on the results of the match.

Given the misunderstanding and ineffectiveness of the points-based system, FIFA was tempted to make necessary changes to the ranking system. As a result, the current ranking version, the Elo rating system, was adopted in August of 2018.

The FIFA Ranking System’s Structured Changes

The Point Based System

The initial procedure, which ran from 1993 to 1998, was dubbed “simplistic” because it mimicked the traditional leagues’ scoring system. Football stakeholders and enthusiasts deemed the teams’ comparison basis to be inaccurate. FIFA was compelled to improve its ranking system as a result of these criticisms.

The main talking point was Norway’s ability to climb to second place, surpassing all football giants in October 1993 and 1995. Because a variety of factors influence international matches, FIFA had to reassess the initial point-based ranking calculating system.

FIFA began the journey toward developing an easy-to-understand and accurate ranking formula with feedback from the previous model and extensive consultations.

This method is very similar to Kickalgor’s method of ranking the Premier League as the best in the world.

However, the total number of points earned by a team is calculated by adding the average number of points earned during matches played in the previous 12 months to the average number of points earned in games played more than a year ago (which depreciates year-on-year).

At its most basic, FIFA ranking is based on the following factors: 12 month average plus the previous 36-month average

The Calculation of Points

FIFA has developed a formula for calculating the number of points a team can earn in a single match (P), which is based on the following factors:

  • Was the match won or drawn? (M)
  • How important was the match? (I)
  • How strong was the opposing team and the confederation to which they belong? (T & C)

As a result, the formula is as follows: P = M x I x T x C

Calculating M

Teams receive three points for a win, one point for a tie, and zero points for a loss. In a penalty shoot-out, the winning team receives two points and the losing team receives one point.

Calculating I

A match’s importance is scaled from 1 to 4, depending on whether it is a friendly (1), a competitive World Cup or confederation-level qualifier (2.5), a confederation-level finals game (3), or a World Cup game (4).

Calculating T

FIFA employs the following formulas to determine the strength of the opposing team: 200 minus the ranking of the opposing team (using the most recent ranking). So, for example, third-place Portugal would have a strength rating of 197 based on the September 2017 ranking.

There are some exceptions; the team at the top of the rankings is always assigned a rating of 200, while teams ranked 150 and lower are assigned a minimum value of 50.

Calculating C

A confederation’s strength is determined by the number of victories achieved by its teams in the previous three World Cup finals competitions.

The mean value of the two confederations is used for games between teams from different confederations.

When no teams from a confederation have qualified for the World Cup, the weight of the weakest confederation is used.

For over 50 years, FIFA has ranked the best football teams in the world. This allowing us to see how each country compares to the rest of the world. We have provided a breakdown of how FIFA ranks each country each month in this article.


By Clive Banda

Football Dialogue is the Home to Football News & Content that is both instructive and timeless.

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