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Friday, July 1, 2011

UEFA seeding: Wales vs. Faroe Islands

I've been getting quite a lot of visits from the Faroe Islands in the last week and even two e-mails, besides all the Wales/Faroe Islands related comments. So here are the detailed point totals for Wales and Faroe Islands. They are valid for both June and July, since there won't be any changes. I always sort teams tied for the same spot using their unrounded totals.


The columns are as follows: Match date, Opponents' FIFA trigramme, FIFA match points for Wales.

"0.2 time frame"

22-Aug-2007 BUL 513
08-Sep-2007 GER 0
12-Sep-2007 SVK 1207.5
13-Oct-2007 CYP 0
17-Oct-2007 SMR 375
17-Nov-2007 IRL 420
21-Nov-2007 GER 487.5
06-Feb-2008 NOR 513
26-Mar-2008 LUX 150
28-May-2008 ISL 345
01-Jun-2008 NED 0

"0.3 time frame"

20-Aug-2008 GEO 0
06-Sep-2008 AZE 465
10-Sep-2008 RUS 0
11-Oct-2008 LIE 487.5
15-Oct-2008 GER 0
19-Nov-2008 DEN 498
11-Feb-2009 POL 0
28-Mar-2009 FIN 0
01-Apr-2009 GER 0
29-May-2009 EST 261
06-Jun-2009 AZE 450

"0.5 time frame"

12-Aug-2009 MNE 0
09-Sep-2009 RUS 0
10-Oct-2009 FIN 0
14-Oct-2009 LIE 375
14-Nov-2009 SCO 462
03-Mar-2010 SWE 0
23-May-2010 CRO 0

"1.0 time frame"

11-Aug-2010 LUX 249
03-Sep-2010 MNE 0
08-Oct-2010 BUL 0
12-Oct-2010 SUI 0
08-Feb-2011 IRL 0
26-Mar-2011 ENG 0
25-May-2011 SCO 0
27-May-2011 NIR 405

Adding it up:

Year - Points - Matches - Multiplier - Total

-4 4011 11 0.2 72.927
-3 2161.5 11 0.3 58.950
-2 837 7 0.5 59.786
-1 654 8 1 81.750

Total: 273.412987, rounded down to 273.

Faroe Islands

The columns are as follows: Match date, Opponents' FIFA trigramme, FIFA match points for Faroe Islands.

"0.2 time frame"

12-Sep-2007 LTU 0
13-Oct-2007 FRA 0
17-Oct-2007 UKR 0
21-Nov-2007 ITA 0
16-Mar-2008 ISL 0
04-Jun-2008 EST 0

"0.3 time frame"

20-Aug-2008 POR 0
06-Sep-2008 SRB 0
10-Sep-2008 ROU 0
11-Oct-2008 AUT 295
15-Oct-2008 LTU 0
22-Mar-2009 ISL 375
10-Jun-2009 SRB 0

"0.5 time frame"

12-Aug-2009 FRA 0
05-Sep-2009 AUT 0
09-Sep-2009 LTU 1035
10-Oct-2009 FRA 0
14-Oct-2009 ROU 0
21-Mar-2010 ISL 0
04-Jun-2010 LUX 73

"1.0 time frame"

11-Aug-2010 EST 0
03-Sep-2010 SRB 0
07-Sep-2010 ITA 0
08-Oct-2010 SVN 0
12-Oct-2010 NIR 387.5
16-Nov-2010 SCO 0
03-Jun-2011 SVN 0
07-Jun-2011 EST 937.5

Adding it up:

Year - Points - Matches - Multiplier - Total

-4 0 6 0.2 0.000
-3 670 7 0.3 28.714
-2 1108 7 0.5 79.143
-1 1325 8 1 165.625

Total: 273.4821429, rounded down to 273.

So, according to my calculations, Faroe Islands should be above Wales in the ranking. I think FIFA are simply sorting them by rounded total points first, then by their database ID and I suspect Wales have a smaller ID than Faroe Islands.

See for instance the December 2008 FIFA ranking. France, Portugal and Czech Republic are tied for 11th place. Their totals are as follows (confirmed by FIFA by e-mail): Czech Republic 1007.4, Portugal 1007.07, France 1006.87 - exactly in the reverse order.

If you want an official explanation, feel free to contact FIFA.

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. Thank you very much that was very helpful!
    I can see that I made one small mistake in my own calculation with the Bulgaria-Wales friendly from 22th of August in 2007. I used the ranking list from 18th July 2007, when Bulgaria was no 30, instead of using the ranking list from 22th of August 2007 when Bulgaria was no 29. This means that Wales in my calculation goes from 273,3584416 points to 273,412987013 points which is the same as yours. I also got the Faroe Islands to have 273,4821429 points.
    Could you explain little bit more about what you mean with database ID?

  2. The company that computes the ranking for FIFA uses as far as I know the FIFA database (also known as the FAST system). In the tables, each team has a numeric ID. For instance, Switzerland have a FAST ID of 43971, while Timor-Leste have a FAST ID of 1890334.

  3. OK, so I assume that FIFA could not go in and legitimately argue that the database ID is a good enough explanation for Wales placed in pot 5 instead of the Faroe Islands.

    Then it seems like the Faroese FA has a good case here…

  4. Sigurjón said...

    Gott Jákup Emil! Óført at ljós verður varpað á hetta! Kann blíva SERA týdningarmikið fyri Føroyar, um vit fara ein bólk upp...

  5. Takk fyri tað Sigurjón :) Tú er tann fyrsti eg havi fingið rós frá í hesum sambandi. Hetta er nokk heldur ikki tað lættasta evni at fyrihalda seg til um man ikki er fótbóltsidiot :) M.a. havi eg ikki hoyrt eitt kis frá FSF, hóast eg kunnaði allari starvsnevndini og aðalskrivaranum um hetta málið longu 10. juni.

    Jákup Emil

  6. Guys, try to write in English. Thanks!

  7. FIFA has now corrected the ranking! The Faroes are ahead of Wales.


  8. That is right Oddur. Still it is a bit strange that FIFA does not announce that they have made a correction that is so crucial for the seeding of the upcomming qualification to the World Cup 2014.

    This is a small detail, but in my opinion a very interesting detail. If you look at the official FIFA World Ranking on FIFA’s webpage and press on the names Faroe Islands or Wales this is what you see, as the links show:

    The Faroe Islands are placed above the Wales on FIFA World Ranking when you look at the whole world. But looking at the Zonal Ranking Wales is still placed over the Faroe Islands. How to interpret this, I simply do not know? It may be only a small error, but I think it's remarkable that FIFA modifies the list in some places and not announce the change on FIFA World Ranking.

    This is why I think it is so important that we still keep putting pressure on FIFA, because I am not 100 per cent sure that the Faroe Islands will come in pot 5 instead of pot 6 before FIFA finally announce the seeding of the qualification to the World Cup 2014.

    Jákup Emil

  9. @ Jákup Emil

    To me, it looks like you're missing the two most important points. First, regardless of who's in front, both teams still have 114th next to them. And second, this is not the ranking you need to be worrying about, the July ranking is.

  10. @Lorric
    I have not missed anything at all. I have made calculations of the Wales-Faroe Islands situation. This is what I get:

    Final Result

    The Faroe Islands 273,4821429 points
    Wales 273,4129870 points

    The Faroe Islands are 0,0691559 points ahead of Wales. My result is identical with the result that Edgar gets.

    This is not big difference, but enough to place the Faroe Islands ahead of Wales. That is also the reason why FIFA did correct the FIFA World Ranking about 2 pm on Friday. Decimals are counting if you like or not, so this means that the Faroe Islands should be in pot 5 and Wales in pot 6 when the draw is going to be made on the 30th of July in Brazil.

    When FIFA choose to correct the FIFA World Ranking it is very strange that FIFA do not correct everywhere on the webpage:

    It is also strange that FIFA do not announce that they have made a correction when it is so crucial for Wales. If FIFA did announce the correction it would be in full transparency. Now it seems like tries to sneak it in without no one noticing. Well that will not happen!!!

    To the last thing you mentioned. The FIFA World Ranking will not change anything from June and July for the Faroe Islands and Wales. The reason is simply that neither the Faroe Islands nor Wales have been playing any matches in July the last 4 years, which means that there are no points to devaluate.

  11. @ Jákup Emil

    No, I know about the calculations. What I mean is, I think FIFA will put out the final ranking, and then announce that the Faroes beat Wales. They don't need to do it now.

  12. The curious and really unpleasant thing will be if the Faroes indeed are placed in the 5th seeding group but end up in the only qualifying group counting five (and not six) nations - and still the weakest team of that group of five! Such scenario is actually much worse than to be in the weakest seeding group, at least you are 100% secured to play against five opponents (including one from 5th seeding group) and not only four... Som there is some risk involved for the Faroes, too!

    Ivan Eginsson

  13. @ Ivan Eginsson

    Yes. It happened to Liechtenstein for WCQ. But they've spat in the face of that so far, they almost got a result in Scotland, and have beaten Lithuania. Not enough to save them from going back down the the bottom pot though...

  14. Exactly. Liechtenstein could have got San Marino, Andorra or Luxembourg (again) as one team more in the group for Euro-2012 – I did wish them that before the draw and was really disappointed of the draw results, as were they. Had it happen, I am sure that now they were keeping themselves in the 5th seeding group and Faroes-Wales issue had been totally unrelevant!

    As for the Faroes, perspective of getting San Marino (2 competitive games, both won), Liechtenstein (3 friendlies, all won), Luxembourg (2 competitive games, both won, one friendly drawn) or Malta (two competitive games, one friendly, all won) or even Kazakhstan (2 friendlies, both won) seems bright enough!


  15. Any system that rewards getting hammered 5-0 on a regular basis (at least half a dozen in the last 4 years for the Faroe Islands) with the same points as as a team that has not lost by that margin in that time is clearly wrong.

    The ridiculous amount of points for one win against Estonia (hardly a leading light) clearly also hold far too much sway.

    That said I'd be happy enough to see Wales stuff the Faroes in a playoff game for the final spot.

  16. In your opinion but, FIFA did want to make it simplier and easier to calculate. Already enough of people complain because they don't understand how the ranking works. Adding number of goals scored to the formula brings nothing more than extra advantage to the teams that already are placed in the bigger qualifying groups. But overall, would not change any placings I believe.

  17. @ Ivan

    To have been playing competitive games against San Marino, I assume that means the Faroes have been out of the bottom pot before then?

    Very strong record against the bottom teams. If they can get one in their group, I think the Faroe Islands will have a good chance of securing a lasting home in Pot E.

    Wales or Iceland, not so good. Especially Iceland with that crop of U21s they have coming through.

  18. Yep, qualifying for 1996

  19. The reason why the Faroe Islands were in the pot 5 and not in pot 6 to the UEFA Euro 1996 qualifying should be found in that Azerbaijan, Armenia, Moldova, and Slovenia participated for the very first time in a qualification and were therefore all placed in pot 6.

    Faroe Islands were not placed in pot 5 in the UEFA Euro 1996 qualifying because they did so well in the 1994 FIFA World Cup qualification. In the 1994 campaign Faroe Islands did not get a single point, and ended with a negative goal difference of -37.

  20. Best way for the FIFA to avoid any speculations about Faroe Islands and Wales is to put them in the same group. If that happens, nobody can complain anymore about 'what if...".

    I'm sure FIFA has thought about this and they're clever enough to fix that when the draw takes place, without anybody noticing...

  21. @Tobcoach
    That is the most ridiculous suggestion I have heard for a long time! Faroe Islands have 0,07 points more than Wales, which means that Faroe Islands should be in pot 5 and Wales in pot 6. End of the story!
    If FIFA means anything with the promise about reforms and bigger transparency, then Faroe Islands should be placed in pot 5, because we have more points than Wales. It is as simple as that.

  22. @Jákup: I'm not commenting on the Faroe being in pot 5 or pot 6, for me it's obvious they should be in pot 5, based on the decimal points.

    I'm only saying that FIFA could try to avoid any discussion about Faroe being in pot 5 or pot 6 at the draw by putting both Faroe and Wales in the same qualifying group.

    Based on the FIFA ranking, both teams are equally strong, that way they have the chance to prove which team is the better at the moment.

  23. @Tobcoach
    Again, that is the most ridiculous suggestion I have heard for a long time! Faroe Islands have 0,07 points more than Wales, which means that Faroe Islands should be in pot 5 and Wales in pot 6. End of the story! Your suggestion would mean that FIFA were manipulating the draw, which would be very controversial especially when FIFA are talking about reforms and more transparency!
    You misinterpret the FIFA World Ranking when you say that the Faroe Islands is stronger than Wales. FIFA World Ranking is only a system, where FIFA places all national teams in the world in a ranking system based on a transparent calculation method. In this calculation method it plays a big role which opponent you have been meeting, so of course one of the reasons why Wales is now under the Faroe Islands is because Wales were unlucky to come in such a stronge group in UEFA EURO 2012. Anyway, that is just tough luck for Wales, and the Faroe Islands have got some incredible results lately with Brian Kerr in charge, and that is why the Faroe Islands is 0,07 points ahead of Wales.

    To make a long story short, the Faroe Islands is ahead of Wales and that is why the Faroe Islands should be in pot 5 and Wales in pot 6.

  24. The funny thing is that, for a country with Wales ambitions (and tey always say that their aim to qualify to final tournaments, even though they never do qualify anyways), it doesn't matter t´whether they are in pot 5 or 6 - everybody knows that teams from pots 1-4 usually are considered as candidates to qualify.
    Really it doesn't mean anything for Wales if they get Armenia (pot 5) or San Marino (pot 6) as opponenets, there still will be 4 higher seeded nations above Wales.
    In contrast, this seeding means everything for the Faroes - without any ambition of qualifying but just getting as many points (and victories) as possible. Certainly, they can take all six points from a country like San Marino - again. But their possibilities of taking more than 3 points (at best) from any of pot 5 teams don't seem realistic.
    That is why Faroes have made a lot of noice out of the situation and you could hardly hear anything from Wales - for them, pot 5 or 6 makes the same, apart from the humiliation itself of being in pot 6, of course.
    Ivan Eginsson

  25. Lorric said...

    To have been playing competitive games against San Marino, I assume that means the Faroes have been out of the bottom pot before then?


    As far as I can remember, there was a big pot 5 back then (Euro-96 qualifiers), containing more teams than qualifying groups and no pot 6 at all - and Faroes were just lucky to end up with San marino in their group...

  26. i think it's fair to say we all agree that wales are rubbish. under toshack they went from a decent side to no hopers. hopefully speed can start to turn things around, but his spell in charge of sheffield utd doesn't exactly breed confidence...

  27. As a Welshman I can say Wales don't deserve to be in pot 5. Our results have been dismal due to one man.... John Toshack.

    At least now we can look at improving as a team and get better rankings once the Euro 2012 qualifiers are over.


  28. Yes, I remember them doing the big bottom pot in the past now. They did it for Euro 2008 I think, that's why you got Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan in Group A, when that was the only group with an extra team. They do the big bottom pot in Euro U21 qualifying too. Faroes were put with Andorra in the last campaign. Faroes did really well, got 11pts. Only 4 from Andorra. They even beat Russia! A result which ultimately saw Russia lose the group to Romania, who were then taken down by my England in the playoffs. Faroes also got a draw against Moldova and beat Latvia in Latvia.

  29. Now it is official the Faroe Islands is placed in pot 5 and Wales in pot 6

  30. Something similar with this Wales/Faroe Islands thing happened in November 2007.

    Read this:

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

    I wouldn't be surprised to see Wales placed in the same group as the Faroe Islands.

    However, FIFA are innocent of fixing draw - until proven otherwise :)

  31. Nice work! Is there anywhere database or something I can see points from every team, same way You show points in here with Wales ans FaroeIslands?

  32. There is no such thing on the web, as far as I know. You could always write to FIFA and ask for this.

  33. Ok thanks. Well I think FIFA will not give me anything, just want to now couple of teams points. So I just have to calculate them by myself :)But can You tell me if I got this right and I be on my work then?

    Finland - Kazakstan 22.8.2007
    FIN won and got 375 points?

    Thank You

  34. Finland got 637.5 points.

    3 (win) * 2.5 (continental qualifier) * 1 (UEFA match) * (200-115) = 637.5

    Kazakhstan were 115th.

  35. Jakup desribed in first post some mistake in his calculations. I have a similar problem abaut game Poland-Wales 11.02.2009. If I use FIFA ranking from this day (11.02.2009), then my calculations are different than FIFA, but when I use ranking from 14.01.2009 then everything is OK.

  36. @name

    You have to keep in mind the official deadline for matches is 6 days before the release date. So for the games played on 11.02.2009 you have to use the January 2009 ranking.

  37. Sorry Edgar. I still don't understand. One more time. In yours calculations for game WAL-BUL 22-Aug-2007 You used ranking from 22-Aug-2007. Wales won 513 because Bulgaria was 29. Why didn't You used July ranking?

  38. Sorry name. I made a mistake. For games played on 11.02.2009 you have to use the 11.02 ranking.

    Send me an e-mail with the detailed point totals for Poland (right?) and I'll take a look and see where the mistake is.

  39. On the new FIFA ranking webside we can see that Poland averange for 2009 is 233.64. I my opinion FIFA used for game Poland-Wales 11.02.2009 January ranking (not 11.02.2009). This is a list of game: (date of game, opponent, polish points, date of ranking, opponent rank position).
    I 19.11.2008 - Republic of Ireland - 492 - 12.11.2008 - 36
    II 14.12.2008 - Serbia - 510 - 12.11.2008 - 30
    III 7.02.2009 - Lithuania - 150 - 14.01.2009 - 50
    IV 11.02.2009 - Wales - 420 - 14.01.2009! - 60!
    V 28.03.2009 - Northern Ireland - 0
    VI 1.04.2009 - San Marino - 375 - 11.03.2009 - 201
    VII 6.06.2009 - South Africa - 0
    VIII 9.06.2009 - Iraq - 113,775 - 3.06.2009 - 77
    IX 12.08.2009 - Greece - 567 - 5.08.2009 - 11
    X 5.09.2009 - Northern Ireland - 442,5 - 2.09.20009 - 31
    XI 9.09.2009 - Slovenia - 0
    XII 10.10.2009 - Czech Republic - 0
    XIII 14.10.2009 - Slovakia - 0
    averange 233.64
    IV' 11.02.2009 - Wales - 405 - 11.02.2009! - 65!
    averamge 233.48

    Where I made mistake?

  40. Hi name,

    the match against Wales was awarded with 405 pts (position Wales was taken from february-ranking) as you said. The difference is caused by the friendly against Lithuania. In that one the position of Lithuania was taken from the february-ranking, not the january-ranking as you assumed. The awarded points for that match were 152 and than your 3rd timeframe average is 233.64.

  41. well, as far as I can see, it's two different things:
    so first your average from the points in the list is 1 point too low, cause it's 234,64 (instead of 233,64)

    and second (that's where the difference comes from) the position of Lithuania in match III. is 48, and thus makes a factor of 152 (instead of 150)

    Hope I could help you:)

  42. Good heavens. I was blind. Thanks a lot.