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Friday, July 13, 2012

FIFA Ranking: Mano Menezes hoping against hope

Hoping against mathematics actually. Really, someone at CBF should take a look at the ranking procedure and explain it to Mr. Menezes, otherwise he's in for a surprise in the following months.

When asked last week about Brazil's fall out of the top 10, Mr. Menezes replied:

"La tendencia es que subamos (en la clasificación). Primero buen fútbol, después la clasificación", afirmó Menezes en una rueda de prensa en la que anunció la nómina de la selección olímpica.

El entrenador consideró que la clasificación refleja "el mal momento" de Brasil el año pasado, en alusión a su eliminación en cuartos de final de la Copa América, y fue perjudicado ahora por no jugar cuando las selecciones europeas disputaron su torneo continental.

No obstante, señaló que "la diferencia de puntuación es mínima" entre las selecciones que superaron a la pentacampeona del mundo, por lo que Brasil puede rebasarlas "en un partido".

Basically he said Brazil will eventually climb in the rankings which currently reflect the "bad moment" Brazil went through last year (2011 Copa America - elimination in the quarterfinals).

Even if the European teams dropped the Brazilians out of the top 10, "the point difference is minimal" and Menezes' men will overtake the teams ahead of them "in one game".

He's quite wrong.

Let's look at Germany - hosts of the 2006 FIFA World Cup. 12th in July 2004 - after a disastrous EURO 2004 (group stage elimination), they dropped to 21st after one year without competitive games. They climbed 10 places after the 2005 FIFA Confederations Cup (3rd place), then remained mostly in 15-20 range until after the 2006 World Cup. They fell as low as 22nd in March 2006 - their worst ever ranking.

I expect Brazil to follow the same path - but they will most likely remain in the top 20 though.

Brazil's choice of friendly opponents (China PR and South Africa are both outside the top 50 and from confederations with a low coefficient) will further hurt their rankings.

Next month, Brazil will fall to 12th, behind Greece. Even if they win their next four matches (Sweden, South Africa, China PR and Argentina), they will be around 14th in October.

I do agree with him though - "good football first".


  1. Where would Brazil be if they'd won every match at the Copa America please?

    I also wonder where they'd be without these pulling them down:

    Argentina 0-1
    France 0-1
    Netherlands 0-0
    Germany 2-3
    Argentina 0-0
    Mexico 0-2
    Argentina 3-4

    All they really have is a set of friendly victories over teams mostly outside the top 20 in the World.

    1. 1277 points - that would be 4th this month - behind Spain, Germany and England, as Uruguay would have only 1189 points.

      If we also remove those friendlies - 1535 - second behind Spain.

      Of course, removing those games would affect the other teams too.

    2. Thanks Edgar. I kind of meant turning defeat into victory in the friendlies rather than taking them out entirely though. I can see Iwasn't very clear though.

      However, it doesn't matter much I don't think, as I predict the total of 1277 would be about right for a "normal" Brazil side. The kind that not too long ago won nearly every match they played in, touring the World and beating some of the best teams in their own stadia and dominated the Copa America. (They won 4 of the last 5 Copa competitions before 2011) A truly World Class Brazil side wouldn't notice the World rankings. They'd just put it down to the European Championship and be looking forward to rising again come the Confederations Cup. Might even have a higher total than 1277 as I guess they'd perform better than that set of friendlies. They probably wouldn't be playing some of the random teams that the current Brazil side are playing in friendlies. Most of the time they seem to either play a top team (which is good) and lose, or a vastly inferior one most of the time. Not much in the way of 2nd tier teams in their list of opponents, the kind which they'll likely face in the earlier stages of their World Cup.

      I don't understand why they fired Dunga, and still keep Menezes, Dunga's record was far superior to Menezes', yet they keep Menezes. Dunga won the Copa America, won the Confederations Cup, won the South American qualifying group, went on the typical Brazil World tour of domination, won the group of death at the World Cup, and had the quarter final under total control, until all the players started behaving like spoiled brats. And then they fired him for that. Meanwhile Menezes' Brazil is by far the worst Brazil side I've ever seen, and they're about to host the World Cup, and this clown is still in charge. I've watched this Brazil side play a few times, and honestly they look like a 2nd tier European team with a couple of good players. I even think England with a full squad would beat them. Hell, I think Croatia would beat them.

      I feel the firing of Dunga is a great tragedy, Ireally liked hs side. Still, I won't be complaining if that fool is still at the helm come World Cup 2014.

    3. I believe Dunga's atittude hampered him and his team. He was very stubborn, picked avoidable fights with media, players and fans. The team's brainfarts at that QF were quite predictable and in line with Dunga's mentality. He ended being very unpopular and hasnt had a coaching job since the WC.

      I agree that Meenezes as a replacement was quite a reach. His greatest triumphs amount to 2 Second Division championships. But he had the right friendships and his sheepish style made for good contrast with Dunga.

      Menezes was not the first choice to replace him though. Former national cap Muricy Ramalho had then a streak of 3 First Divison titles (and won again in 2010), was officialy invited and refused. Muricy always speaks proudly of his work-ethic so it is easy to imagine he was unconfortable to join forces with CBF's head Ricardo Teixeira.

      Coaching issues aside, Brazil is in rebuilding mode and shouldnt be so harshly judged for wins right now. There are some exciting young players with great potential (Neymar, Ganso, Oscar, Lucas) being put on fast track to maturation to compete in 2014. Think of it as a U-23 team in the top15 of the world right now.

  2. EDIT: They have played quite a few 2nd tier teams after all. Only Denmark from Europe, but a fairly good base from other confederations, the likes of Mexico, United States, Ghana, Ivory Coast.

  3. How many matches against Argentina do they need? That will be their fourth match since the World Cup against Argentina. Maybe they just want to beat them after failure the first three times.

    1. I think they recently had an agreement to play 2 friendlies each year (one in Brazil and one in Argentina), but only using players from CONMEBOL leagues and players who play in Europe. That recent 4-3 friendly was probably an extra game outside from that agreement (by looking at the squads)

  4. Greece ahead of Brazil in rankings? Gotta tell my fb buddies about this news!