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Monday, November 26, 2007

Azerbaijan's November ranking revisited, is there a mistake?

This is the title of a post written by Zombie Z on Bert's Forum 2.

Basically, Azerbaijan got 26 "undeserved extra points" (going from 248 to 274) and leapfrogged Liechtenstein (261 points) for the last place in Pot 5.

Pot 5: Georgia, Albania, Slovenia, Latvia, Iceland, Armenia, Austria, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan
Pot 6: Liechtenstein, Estonia, Malta, Luxembourg, Montenegro, Andorra, Faroe Islands, San Marino

For a very detailed analysis, read Zombie Z's post.

I will only add this to his words:

Column order

1. Month (of 2007)
2. FIFA Points
3. Points according to my calculations
4. Difference

May       297 301 -4
June 277 277 0
July 277 277 0
August 290 290 0
September 287 287 0
October 279 280 -1
November 274 248 26


As you can see November stands out, with 26 points.

When I first read Zombie Z's post, I remembered something Platini said in October:

"Azerbaijan and Armenia are likely to avoid playing each other in future European Championship and World Cup qualifiers.

UEFA president Michel Platini said Wednesday it was a "mistake" to have Azerbaijan and Armenia - which have no diplomatic relations - in the same Euro 2008 qualifying group.

"
We will try that both teams never face each other again," said Platini, who was in Baku with FIFA president Sepp Blatter for the opening of the Azerbaijan soccer federation's new headquarters.

Armenia and Azerbaijan had back-to-back matches in Group A canceled in September after the two failed to agree on a neutral location. No points were given for the matches.

Both teams have failed to qualify for next year's European Championship in Austria and Switzerland, the IHT reports
."

With the extra 26 points, Azerbaijan was placed in the same pot with Armenia, thus avoiding each other in the draw.

Ironically, Azerbaijan and Liechtenstein were drawn together in Group 4. Now, even if FIFA admit their mistake (was there a mistake?) and switch the two countries, nothing would change.

Pure coincidence? I guess we will never know.

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