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Friday, December 19, 2014

2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying: AFC draw dates and seeding leaked

As usual with AFC, it's very hard to get information regarding their competitions. In 7 years, they have replied only once to my e-mails.

However, the United Arab Emirates FA have posted the draw dates on their website. Use Google Translate if your Arabic grasp is lacking.

FIFA ranking: January 2015 preview and probable ranking

FIFA will publish the ranking on January 8th, forced by the AFC Asian Cup kicking off a day later.

Only 16 matches - all friendlies. Of course, there's the return leg of the AFF Championship, but that's a friendly as far as FIFA are concerned.

The top 44 is already set - and the same as this month.

AFC announce seemingly useless club ranking

After announcing the member association ranking (used to determine slot allocations for AFC's club competitions),  AFC have also revealed a club ranking. Very similar to the UEFA club coefficient.

Saudi Arabia have two teams on the podium, with 2014 AFC Champions League finalists, Al Hilal, top of the list, with Al Ittihad in 3rd. Korea Republic's FC Seoul are 2nd.

2018 World Cup: Should FIFA postpone the preliminary draw?

As you know the 2018 FIFA World Cup preliminary draw will take place on 25 July 2015 in St. Petersburg.

Of course, FIFA have not revealed the seeding criteria, but it could be the FIFA ranking yet again. FIFA have already announced the release dates for 2015. The most recent ranking at the time of the draw will be the July ranking - published on 9 July, while the next ranking would be published on 6 August.

December 2014: Recommended friendly impact

The best opponent to play against is determined using a combination of Elo ratings and FIFA rankings. Let's look at the December 2014 FIFA ranking and we'll see the impact of one extra friendly. The difference in ranking is computed assuming all things remain equal, except the points of the given team and their recommended opponent.

The most popular opponent were again Northern Ireland (70), followed by Antigua and Barbuda (59) and American Samoa (29).

Friday, December 12, 2014

UEFA Nations League update (12 December 2014)

Long overdue post. I know I promised to update the UNL coefficients, but didn't quite find the time until now.

All you need to know about this competition can be found on UEFA.com.

Analyzing the AFC member association ranking

The FIFA ranking is really making a comeback in Asia. About 4 years ago, AFC chose to seed the final draw for the 2011 AFC Asian Cup using previous tournament performance. Australia were at that time 19th in the World and 1st in AFC, yet were placed in the 2nd pot, based on their (not so impressive) 2007 AFC Asian Cup showing. For those who don't remember, they were eliminated in the quarter-finals. Asked by (most likely annoyed) Australian journalists, here's what Ali Al-Hamdani, AFC spokesman, had to say: "We see no reason to follow FIFA rankings".