FIFA Ranking - does it really matter for the Philippines?
Azkals fans are eager to see their team climbing in the rankings, but that's really not (very) important.
The AFC officials simply don't like the FIFA World rankings. Until last year, they have always used past performance to seed the qualifiers for the World Cup and Asian Cup. Although in 2007 FIFA forced UEFA to use the FIFA Ranking to seed the teams for the 2010 preliminary draw, yet AFC still stood by their beloved past performance seeding. In 2011, AFC still snubbed the FIFA ranking for the first round draw, but FIFA stepped in and used the July 2011 FIFA ranking to seed the teams for the group stage draw.
AFC used the FIFA ranking to seed the teams for the 2007 Asian Cup final tournament, but that was because Australia were making their debut in the competition and based on past performance they would have been seeded last.
By concentrating on the 2014 AFC Challenge Cup as a path to the 2015 Asian Cup, the PFF and Michael Weiss are doing the right thing. Sure, the Azkals' ranking will drop by playing the likes of Guam, Malaysia and Indonesia, but they do need to build team chemistry.
A quick look at the FIFA ranking calculation method
Plenty of info can be found on FIFA.com, Wikipedia and Football-Rankings.Info (a bit of shameless self-promotion :) ).
It takes into account competitive and friendly matches played in the last 48 months (4 time frames of 12 months). It doesn't reward teams for achievements like qualifying for a certain stage in a competition. For each time frame, points are computed for each match, added up and divided by the number of matches played in that time frame (but no fewer than 5). Thus, if a team only plays 3 matches in a time frame, the points will be divided by 5 - basically this adds 2 virtual defeats to the teams record.
The formula for an individual match is:
P = M x I x T x C
M = points for match result (3 - win, 2 - PSO win, 1 - draw and PSO loss, 0 - defeat)
I = importance of match (1 - friendly, 2.5 - WC or Asian Cup qualifier, 3 - Asian Cup and FIFA Confederations Cup, 4 - World Cup)
T = opponent strength. For teams ranked 150th and below the value is 50. For the others it's computed using this formula: (200 - opponent ranking)
C = strength of confederation (0.85 - OFC, 0.86 - AFC and CAF, 0.88 - CONCACAF, 1 - CONMEBOL and UEFA)
Home/away and goal difference are not taken into account. Thus, you get the same amount of points for defeating Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur or for defeating Guam in Bacolod, as both teams are below 150th.
Dan Palami once targeted a place in the top 120. That was difficult before, but since FIFA upgraded the Challenge Cup to continental qualifier status the top 120 is a reachable goal. However, the PFF officials have to keep in mind that playing against ASEAN teams will bring the ranking down (most of the times). For a win against Malaysia or Indonesia you get only 129 points. Thailand would bring 152.22 points, while Vietnam would bring 265.74 points. I'm fully aware that ASEAN Cup is very important for Azkals fans, but for FIFA it's only a friendly competition and it doesn't bring many points.
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