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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

The Scots are FIFA ranking experts

Both the SFA and the Scottish media :)

This morning I read two amusing articles about Scotland's hastily arranged friendly against the Faroe Islands.

First - this lovely piece from the Scotsman, with a title to match (Glance at alarming Fifa rankings should be enough to motivate Scots):

" Now the manager has the twin purpose of assessing the multiple newcomers in his squad while trying to ensure a victory which will give Scotland at least some precious ranking points."

And then this article from Herald's Hugh MacDonald:

"The match tonight at Pittodrie has already attracted some unfriendly fire but the Scotland manager made a persuasive case yesterday for how the fixture has considerable value for the team and the management. This game has been dismissed as unwelcome, useless and a tedious diversion in the midst of an increasingly frenetic club campaign. Levein stood firm against these accusations, stressing both his enthusiasm for the match and the value inherent in it. He made three excellent points.

The first is that friendly matches count towards world rankings and those positions are subsequently considered in the World Cup draw. The second is that Levein must cherish any time he spends with Scotland players. The third is that international careers must start somewhere, including on a chilly Pittodrie in November."

I don't want to rain on Scotland's parade (they did win 3 - 0 - congratulations!), but they are wrong... big time! If one of your goals is to climb in the rankings, playing a friendly against Faroe Islands is a really, really, really bad idea. Why? Because since the Faroese are ranked 131st in the November 2010 ranking, it will give Scotland only 207 points (don't add them to what they already have, it's a bit more complicated). While it will work as a short term fix, because of Scotland's awful recent results, in the long run it might hurt their ranking. If Scotland win their remaining three friendlies (each worth more than 207 points), the Faroe Islands match will bring their average down. The Scottish FA should have looked to Armenia for instance - ranked 59th, a win against them would have brought 423 points. Armenia were interested to play a friendly on November 17 but were unable to find an opponent. So to sum it up - playing against the Faroe Islands actually hurt Scotland's ranking.

For their sake, I hope this match doesn't come back to haunt them in July 2011.

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