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Friday, November 2, 2012

FIFA Ranking: Penalty shoot-out matches

Uganda came close to eliminating Zambia (the AFCON title holder) in Kampala last month. The Zambians won the first leg 1 - 0, but Geofrey Massa's goal after 25 minutes had leveled the situation over the two legs. It finally came down to penalties and the Zambians prevailed 9 - 8.

Perhaps some you expect Uganda to make quite a leap in the November FIFA ranking after defeating a team ranked 41st in a qualifier? A quick calculation for this match: 3 * 2.5 * 0.86 * (200 - 41) = 1022.55 points and a total of 428 points overall, a jump of 4 places to 86th. Good news for Bobby Williamson and the Cranes. Well, not quite.

Because the match went to penalties and Uganda lost, the Cranes will only receive a third of those 1022.55 points and will have only 385 points in November, dropping 7 places to 97th.

If the score would have been 2 - 1, with Zambia qualifying on the away goals rule, Uganda would have been 86th as expected. Strange, isn't it?

Even stranger, if the order of the legs was reversed (Uganda first winning at home 1 - 0, then losing in Zambia 1 - 0 and then 9 - 8 on penalties), Uganda would have had 449 points in November - good enough for 79th.

I wrote about this three years ago and I even asked FIFA about it. No answer. I wrote another e-mail  this week and here's the answer:

Thank you for your e-mail and for bringing this matter to our attention. FIFA will review your input and if relevant make amendments in the calculation accordingly.

A list of competitive matches affected:

13/Oct/2012 CQ Uganda Zambia 1:0 (1:0) 8:9 PSO
12/Jul/2011 WQ St. Lucia Aruba 4:2 a.e.t. (4:2, 2:1) 5:4 PSO
28/Oct/2007 WQ Jordan Kyrgyzstan 2:0 a.e.t. (2:0, 1:0) 6:5 PSO
16/Nov/2005 WQ Australia Uruguay 1:0 a.e.t. (1:0, 1:0) 4:2 PSO
11/Aug/2002 CQ Curacao Guyana 1:0 a.e.t. (1:0, 1:0) 3:2 PSO
03/Sep/2000 CQ Togo Sierra Leone 2:0 a.e.t. (2:0, 1:0) 4:2 PSO
16/Jul/2000 CQ Mozambique Lesotho 1:0 (0:0) 2:3 PSO
15/Jul/2000 CQ Libya Chad 3:1 8:7 PSO
19/Mar/2000 WQ Suriname St. Lucia 1:0 a.e.t. (1:0, 0:0) 3:1 PSO

Why go back to 2000? Because when the system was changed in 2006, the company computing the ranking for FIFA went back as far as 1996 to apply the new formula.

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. Hi I think you mean bobby Williamson re the manager of Uganda. ..

    1. Thanks! I was asking myself what to write: "Bobby" or "Robert" and I ended up with Robinson :) Fixed now.

  2. Edgar,

    First another explicit 'circular letter' regarding a reminder of the rules for inclusion of matches in the ranking calculations and now this 'PSO'-matter, it looks like FIFA finally tries to be as clear as possible with regard to their calculations and also makes work of recommendations/remarks from others.
    I like to say: all thanks to you and this site. A great job and a rewarding hobby as always!

  3. Keep banging on the door Edgar.

    I really hope they change it, moronic rule.

    They would be helpless without you :)

  4. Edgar,

    your mail did have immediate effect: in the November ranking Uganda got the full 3 points for the win in the second leg of the AFCON-13 qualifier against Zambia. Zambia got zero match points.
    I did not found an official amendment of the regulations regarding PSO and the calculation of FIFA-points yet, but justice was done !

    One peculiarity in the November ranking: the friendly Thailand-Laos (September 12th) appears to be included in the calculation of the FIFA points, but is not present in the FIFA fixture/results list. Or am I missing something ?

    1. That's exceptional. Edgar, Bringer of Justice!

      However, I remember talking about how it would stand them (Uganda) in good stead for a top seed. Looks like i was dead wrong about that. I'm very surprised that 86th in the World is only 22nd in Africa. Looks like they won't be getting top seed. If anything, they've got a fight on their hands just to be a 2nd seed.