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Monday, September 14, 2009

FIFA Ranking: Flaw in the calculation

Thanks to bollie for pointing this out and jos235 for bringing it to my attention.

There's a flaw in the FIFA ranking for matches won after PSO in two-legged play-offs.

For instance, Jordan lost 2 - 0 in Kyrgyzstan on October 18th, 2007, then won 2 - 0 at home on October 28th, 2007. After PSO, they won 6-5.

According to, Jordan received 284.75 points for their PSO win.

Let's look at the FIFA ranking formula for this match to see how many points (0-3) were awarded for the match result part.

P = M x I x T x C x 100

I - match importance = 2.5 (World Cup qualifier)
T - strength of opposition = 0.67 (Kyrgyzstan were 133rd)
C - match strength = 0.85 (both AFC teams)

This means M = 284.75 / (100 * 2.5 * 0.67 * 0.85) = 2 points.

If Jordan had won only 1 - 0 (being eliminated in the process), they would have received 427.125 points.

Same goes for Australia's PSO win against Uruguay in the 2006 World Cup OFC - CONMEBOL playoff. 892.4 points instead of 1338.6.

About me:

Christian, husband, father x 3, programmer, Romanian. Started the blog in March 2007. Quit in April 2018. You can find me on LinkedIn.


  1. Thanks for your input, Edgar.
    I didn't know how many points FIFA assigned exactly to Australia and Kyrgizistan for the matches in question. It is undoubtedly strange that if Jordan was eliminated they would have received more points. Another negative aspect of the ranking system adopted by fifa...

  2. Thanks edgar.

    The "funny" thing is that Kyrgyzstan received 189.13points for that match, even though they lost both the match, and the PSO.

  3. I think it would be more logical that FIFA had set a rule like: "matches that are finished draws in the regular time and decided by a penalty shoot-out(which are considered draws under normal rules) result in the winning team receiving two points and the losing
    team one point. If a match is decided by a penalty shoot-out but the result of the match is not a draw, the winning team receive 3 points and the losing team 0."

  4. The most logical thing to do is not giving points for PSO, because it has nothing to do with the quality of the team.

  5. I think if it is a two leg PSO then don't count it as 2. Count it as 2 seperate games. If they go to PSO then just forget about the PSO. However if the PSO is the result of 1 game (which mean the game HAD to end in a draw) then go to the 2 for a win system.

  6. explains why I could never get the final totals for Australia to match.
    Perhaps not so much of a flaw, as just that this is their rule for these situations.
    Australia 1-0 over Uruguay after 90 min & 120min was EFFECTIVELY a draw, so fair enough. But if the score had been 2-1 to Australia, they'd lose on away goals and get more ranking points, so NOT fair enough!

  7. How did you get 0.67 for the strength. You do 200-their rank. So it would be 200-133 which is 67