NI v Czech Republic

one point for a draw and three for a victory in a league table style system. FIFA realised there were many factors affecting international matches though, such as the strength of the opponent and the significance of the fixture, and therefore vast changes were made to the rankings system from 1999 onwards. Under the current system four variables are used to calculate the rankings points earned from a single game: the result; the importance of the match/competition, and the strength of both the opposition and the governing body they belong to (UEFA, CONMEBOL etc). The points from each match are then tallied up and divided by the number of games played in a calendar year. The calendar year average is added to 50% of the previous year’s average, 30% of the year before and 20% of the average three years ago to work out the overall total points – and that dictates a nation’s position in the rankings. Northern Ireland are currently 23rd in the rankings (as of 10 August) with a total points tally of 896.66 (rounded up to 897). The figure is calculated from their average points tally for 2017 so far, which stands at 463.47, along with 50% of their tally from 2016 – which is 226.67 (from a total of 453.34), 30% of their 2015 tally (556.12) – 166.83 and 20% from their 2014 tally (198.39) – 39.68. The points awarded per match can vary hugely – a case in point being Northern Ireland’s two games back in June. A 1-0 friendly victory over New Zealand at the beginning of the month saw the team awarded just 289.8 points while they earned 920.7 points for their impressive 1-0 World Cup qualifying victory away in Azerbaijan on 10 June.

The match total for New Zealand was calculated as follows: Northern Ireland 1 New Zealand 0 - three points for a victory x 1 for the importance of match x 105 for the opposition strength x 0.92 for the organisation strength (OFC – Oceania Football Confederation) = 289.8 points. And for Azerbaijan it was: Azerbaijan 0 Northern Ireland 1 – three points (victory) x 2.5 (importance of match) x 124 (opposition strength) x 0.99 (regional strength for UEFA) = 920.7 points. UEFA has its own ranking system similar to the FIFA World Rankings. The UEFA rankings are significant to Northern Ireland as they are used to determine what seeding pot a European nation is put in for the draws for the finals of major tournaments (FIFA World Cup and UEFA European Championship) and qualifying groups for those tournaments. Northern Ireland are currently 22nd in these rankings. UEFA’s points are based on results of European nations in three cycles, which are currently as follows: Cycle 1 (FIFA World Cup 2014 qualification results plus FIFA World Cup 2014 results); Cycle 2 (UEFA Euro 2016 finals and qualification results) and Cycle 3 (FIFA World Cup 2018 qualifying results). There are a host of independent ranking systems too, including the ELO Ratings which date back to 1872. Northern Ireland achieved their highest placing of 14th in the ELO Ratings in May 1986, while their lowest placing of 114th was in October 2013. They were 47th in the system prior to last Friday’s match against San Marino.” Words: Andy Greeves


Made with FlippingBook - Online Brochure Maker