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.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Off topic

I have a few invites available for moola.com, an ad-supported site that gives you a penny and gives you chances to double your money repeatedly by watching an ad and playing a head-to-head game. Leave comment with your email address if you're interested.

Currently it is in Beta and registration by invitation only.

Update: I received 4 new invitations so I now have a total of 5 available. So just say the word and you're in.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Just average

Since it is already covered, maybe even more extensively, over at Aggr Ranking, putting together an ordering of national sides based on averages of a set of alternative rankings myself is a bit of a vanity project.

But that's just what I've done. You can download the current edition (93kb, PDF) or find it on the sidebar. I intend to publish every month, within the first week or two of the month, based on the FIFA rankings and the following alternatives:
  • ELO: This is probably the most well-established and statistically rigorous of the alternatives.
  • Ziaian: Easily the most home-spun, but he publishes regularly, and the results fall well within the realm of believability.
  • Xocca: My favourite among my German discoveries.
  • Mondfoot: Kind of like the crazy French uncle in the rankings family. Still they publish consistently and have been doing so for a long time, without which the whole exercise is somewhat futile. Plus it brings a bit more ethnic diversity, and a certain joie de vivre to the table.
The method is astoundingly simple. Each of the 5 rankings systems has an ordering of countries. In my ranking, the countries are ordered in ascending order (ie: from lowest to highest) by an unweighted mean of the 5 rankings. A few notes:
  • The list of countries ranked is not exhaustive. Instead I rank only those 205 countries considered under the FIFA rankings. Other systems (ELO, Ziaian) consider more, others (Xocca) less.
  • For those countries which are not ranked under all systems, an average is taken of those in which they are ranked -- that is, the sample size is smaller.
That's all. The top 20 under the 12 October 2006 edition of the averaged ranking are:

Rk Country FIFA ELO Ziaian Mondfoot Xocca
Average









1 Brazil 1 1 2 1 1
1.2
2 France 2 2 3 2 2
2.2
3 Italy 5 3 1 9 5
4.6
4 Argentina 3 4 5 12 3
5.4
5 Netherlands 6 5 6 7 4
5.6
6 England 4 6 7 6 7
6
7 Germany 8 7 4 5 6
6
8 Czech Republic 7 10 9 4 9
7.8
9 Portugal 9 8 8 8 8
8.2
10 Spain 10 10 15 3 12
10
11 Denmark 16 9 12 11 14
12.4
12 Switzerland 14 13 13 23 17
16
13 Mexico 17 17 14 18 16
16.4
14 Sweden 18 12 11 34 11
17.2
15 Croatia 24 16 10 25 13
17.6
16 Romania 25 14 17 21 15
18.4
17 Turkey 28 17 19 16 18
19.6
18 Greece 22 19 22 19 23
21
19 Uruguay 15 15 18 50 10
21.6
20 Nigeria 11 21 48 14 25
23.8