Which stats are taken into account when ranking a team? How are the points distributed?

I've been wondering recently about how strange it is that the present ranking puts Columbia at the 3rd position above Brazil, Italy, England, Portugal etc.!

Also if suppose European championship is being played where the South American teams don't play (obvious!), and lets say Brazil is ranked #1 and Germany a close #2 by a few points. If suppose Germany wins the Euro then Germany gets the points and gets ranked #1. But Brazil didn't play at all! This strikes me as unfair...

Can somebody please explain?

  • 2
    Just a small comment about it being unfair that Germany gain points for playing in the European Cup which Brazil can noot play in, do you also consider it unfair that Germany are not able to get points when Brazil play in the South American cups? Both countries belong to a continent, both continents have national championships once ever 4 years. Therefore both have the same theoretical chance to gain points. Aug 12, 2013 at 12:16

1 Answer 1


The FIFA ranking procedure is detailed here

The basic logic of these calculations is simple: any team that does well in world football wins points which enable it to climb the world ranking.

Each team points are calculated in a four-year period.

Calculation of points for a single match is calculated in the following formula:

P = M x I x T x C

When the following factors taking into consideration:

  1. M - Match result, Teams gain 3 points for a victory, 1 point for a draw and 0 points for a defeat. In a penalty shoot-out, the winning team gains 2 points and the losing team gains 1 point.
  2. I - Match importance, Friendly match equal 1 point, FIFA World Cup™ qualifier or confederation-level qualifier worth 2.5 points, Confederation-level final competition or FIFA Confederations Cup equal 3 points and the biggest world tournament FIFA World Cup™ final worth 4 points.
  3. T - Opponent strength, calculated by the following formula - Opponent strength, when the minimum multiplier is 0.5 for team ranking 150th and under. The ranking position is taken from the the most recently published FIFA World Ranking.

  4. C - Confederation strength, In addition to the opponent strength, it also considers the relative strength of entire confederations, UEFA/CONMEBOL = 1.00, CONCACAF = 0.88, AFC/CAF = 0.86 and OFC = 0.85. When calculating matches between teams from different confederations the mean value of the confederations is considers into account.

each match point is also multiple by the match date: Match average from past 12 months is multiply by 1, Match average from previous year is multiply by 0.5, Match average from year 3 is multiply by 0.3, Match average from year 4 is multiply by 0.2, Matches older than 4 years is multiply by 0 and deleted.

All national team points are summed up to the magic number which is the national team ranking

another source is Wikipedia

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