Power Ranking the Top 200 World Football Nations
In just a little over a year, the world's attention will be captured once more by football's World Cup as it arrives in Brazil.
With every confederation's continental cup already past and the final stages of World Cup qualifying approaching, the countdown to Rio is in full swing.
So how is every nation doing in their pursuit of glory?
In an attempt to quantify each nation's standing, I have created a metric to assess every international team's performances over the past four years.
To grade these teams, each match they played was given a score based on four factors:
- The result of a particular match
- The importance of the match
- The quality of their opponent
- How recently that match was played
Taking together all of these scores and every opportunity that the team missed over the past four years, a metric was created to tabulate the nation's overall performance.
From there, every team was ranked based on their score, out of 1000, and placed in this list of all 209 national sides.
Just how well off is your country's national team?
Without further ado, here is a ranking of all of the world's national sides.
209. Turks and Caicos Islands
Score out of 1000: 5.8
It's hard to argue against the Turks and Caicos Islands being last in this list.
The islanders have played just two matches throughout all four years, losing both by a combined 10-0 to the Bahamas.
Points out of 1000: 19.8
Montserrat have suffered incredible losses over the past four years, including 7-0 to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and 7-1 to Suriname.
However, they did pick up a 7-0 victory over the British Virgin Islands in their last match.
Maybe the outlook is starting to brighten for Montserrat.
Points out of 1000: 26.1
Over the past four years, the highlight of the Anguilla national team's results was a 0-0 draw with the US Virgin Islands.
Each of their other eight matches were losses, including a 10-0 drubbing by Trinidad and Tobago.
206. South Sudan
Points out of 1000: 33.2
The youngest team and the youngest nation in this ranking, South Sudan has a good excuse for being this low.
The Africans have played just four matches in their history, losing three after drawing their first.
205. British Virgin Islands
Points out of 1000: 33.4
Two victories over Anguilla keep the British Virgin Islands clear of the very bottom of this list.
However, 17-0, 10-0 and 7-0 losses to the Dominican Republic, Dominica and Montserrat, respectively, make one wonder if they are not still the worst side in the world.
204. San Marino
Points out of 1000: 34.0
Many fans will know San Marino as the team that even England can destroy.
In fact, the Europeans have lost every match they've played in over the past four years.
Even though they put in a few good efforts, particularly in a 3-2 loss to Malta, San Marino will hope for a few more results over the next four years.
Points out of 1000: 35.4
Bhutan may not have won a match over the past four years, but they have put up a good fight in most of their matches, including tight affairs with Nepal, Afghanistan and the Philippines.
Still, it's surprising to see them above anyone.
Points out of 1000: 37.0
A win over Somalia is just good enough for Djibouti to get the nod over a few other teams.
Their eight losses in all other matches, though, keep them quite far down.
201. Brunei Darussalam
Points out of 1000: 46.3
Wins over Cambodia and Timor-Leste are all Brunei have to show from their past four years of encounters.
That the Cambodia win was later avenged shows just how much room for improvement there is at Brunei.
200. Cook Islands
Points out of 1000: 57.0
At the bottom of these rankings, the Cook Islands get the benefit of the weak Oceanic region.
After all, the team has only gotten results against Tonga and American Samoa over the past four years.
199. Cayman Islands
Points out of 1000: 61.6
A big 4-1 victory over Anguilla to qualify for the 2010 Caribbean Cup is really the only saving grace of the Cayman Islands' run over the past four years.
Such a large win in a qualification match, though, is enough to have them crack the top 200.
Points out of 1000: 62.2
Macau never came even remotely close to getting results in any important matches over the past four years.
They haven't done too badly in friendlies, though, even picking up wins in two of them.
197. Sao Tome and Principe
Points out of 1000: 63.5
In light of the fact that they have played just six matches over the past four years, Sao Tome e Principe have been extremely successful.
The Africans had a good run in the qualification process for the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, eliminating Lesotho and pushing Sierra Leone to the brink through two legs.
If they played more often, Sao Tome could soon find themselves shooting up this list.
Points out of 1000: 65.3
Somalia may not have won a match over the past four years, but the Africans have taken part in World Cup qualifying and pushed their opponents in those matches.
A 0-0 draw with Ethiopia in a World Cup qualifier was definitely the highlight of their past four years.
Points out of 1000: 68.8
In the first round of Oceania's qualification process for the 2014 World Cup, Tonga finished runners-up to group winners Samoa and were subsequently eliminated.
However, the relatively strong performance in those three matches were overshadowed by their inactivity throughout the rest of the four years.
Points out of 1000: 70.3
Mauritania has taken part in just six matches, all of which friendlies, over the past four years.
However, the Africans have picked up two victories and a draw in those matches, only losing to Egypt, Iran and Indonesia.
193. American Samoa
Points out of 1000: 70.5
In 2011, American Samoa won the first official match in their history, defeating Tonga 2-1 in a World Cup qualifier.
After a draw with the Cook Islands, they were eliminated from World Cup contention after a 1-0 loss to Samoa after an 89th-minute heartbreaker.
Still, it's quite a turnaround for a nation that once lost 31-0 to Australia.
Points out of 1000: 73.0
Timor-Leste hasn't had too much success in matches of much importance, but they have picked up big wins against Cambodia and Laos recently.
Hopefully, they can ride that momentum a bit further up this list.
Points out of 1000: 76.9
Dominica showed some potential in their run in the qualification process for the 2010 Caribbean Cup. There, they defeated the British Virgin Islands 10-0 and the Dominican Republic 1-0 and drew Antigua and Barbuda.
Even though they didn't move on from the second round of qualifying, Dominica looks to be on the up.
190. Papua New Guinea
Points out of 1000: 78.1
Papua New Guinea's only victory in the past four years was a 5-0 drubbing of the Cook Islands in 2011.
However, they have a few moral victories in the second round of World Cup qualification, drawing Fiji and pushing both the Solomon Islands and New Zealand.
Still, Papua New Guinea can do with playing a few more matches.
189. Saint Lucia
Points out of 1000: 84.2
Saint Lucia has had some good results, including a victory over Aruba on penalties in World Cup qualifying and a 5-1 win over Curacao in Caribbean Cup qualification.
However, they seem to always fall just short in these qualifying bids.
Perhaps more friendlies could help them improve more rapidly.
Points out of 1000: 84.8
Seychelles is a team that cannot seem to get it done when it matters.
In their 10 friendlies over the past four years, the Africans won two and drew two.
However, in the four qualifying matches they played, Seychelles lost every one by a combined 14-0.
If they would like to move up this list, Seychelles should hope to do a bit better in the more important matches.
Points out of 1000: 86.4
In the first round of Oceania's qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup, Samoa won the only group with an 89th-minute goal in the final match.
The great moment and achievement, though, only served to show just how large the gap is between them and the better teams in Oceania. After all, in the second round of qualifying, Samoa were outscored 24-1 by Tahiti, Vanuatu and New Caledonia over three matches.
Still, Samoa will hope that those losses will serve as inspiration for their team as they look to improve going forward.
186. US Virgin Islands
Points out of 1000: 87.9
The US Virgin Islands' status in the top 200 of this list rests solely on their wins over the British Virgin Islands in World Cup qualification.
After those victories, they were destroyed by the likes of Haiti and Antigua and Barbuda.
However, a victory is a victory and advancing in the World Cup is not something many of the teams below the US Virgin Islands can say of their past four years.
Points out of 1000: 89.1
Despite going on a four-match unbeaten run from late 2011 through 2012, Aruba's past four years have been a disappointment.
They were eliminated by Saint Lucia in World Cup qualifying and couldn't get through one round of Caribbean Cup qualifying.
Their friendly victories may have them above some other teams, but Aruba fans should want to see improvement.
Points out of 1000: 89.2
Comoros got several draws over the past four years and a victory over Seychelles.
They even put together a good performance in a 2012 Africa Cup of Nations qualifier despite losing 2-1 to eventual champions Zambia.
Points out of 1000: 91.6
A win over Somalia may have been their only victory of the past four years, but Eritrea is further up this list only because of their draws in big matches, particularly with Rwanda in World Cup qualifying.
Points out of 1000: 93.8
Barbados' best results have come over the past year, where they defeated both Dominica and Aruba in qualification for the 2012 Caribbean Cup.
Those results have helped them very much in these rankings and allowed them to beat out some 25 other teams.
Points out of 1000: 95.6
Mauritius' only results came against Seychelles and Comoros.
Luckily for them, they played those two nations multiple times, defeating Comoros twice and drawing with them once and drawing Seychelles twice.
How recent those matches were also helps out Mauritius.
Points out of 1000: 99.1
Mongolia have been quite inconsistent over the past few years, alternating between wins and losses throughout.
They may not have been able to qualify for any major tournaments, but Mongolia seem on the cusp of breaking through to a higher standing.
Points out of 1000: 101.9
Guam have picked up a few big victories in the past few years, including a 3-0 win over Chinese Taipei in Asia qualifying this year.
However, they have also been susceptible to huge losses. After all, they lost 9-2 and 12-0 to North Korea and Hong Kong, respectively.
More consistent results would be nice.
Points out of 1000: 102.7
The Bahamas have played just two matches in the past four years.
To their credit, they were World Cup qualifiers and they won them by a combined 10-0.
Maybe if they played a bit more they would find their way into the upper echelon of world football.
Points out of 1000: 103.2
Over the past four years, Madagascar won just two matches including a win over the Equatorial Guinea in a World Cup qualifier.
The African side has lost quite a few matches as well, though, and must improve their winning rate to move up this list.
Points out of 1000: 118.9
Guinea-Bissau has already been eliminated from World Cup contention when Togo defeated them in a two-legged tie.
Points out of 1000: 112.5
Bermuda's attempts at major tournaments have not gone well over these four years.
The team failed to qualify for either of the two Caribbean Cups and was eliminated from 2014 World Cup qualification almost immediately.
Points out of 1000: 126.6
Cambodia has a few good wins throughout the four years, including against Macau, Timor-Leste and Laos.
At the same time, though, they failed to qualify for any major tournament and had some key losses to teams like the Philippines and Myanmar.
Points out of 1000: 127.6
Chad really haven't done much over the four years, missing all three Africa Cups of Nations and the World Cup.
However, they did pick up victories over Tanzania and Malawi, which boosted them up the rankings.
Points out of 1000: 129.8
Curacao hasn't done much over the past four years.
In fact, they lost a lot of matches to a lot of teams below them in this list.
However, they were able to beat up on the bottom teams in the list. For example, they defeated the US Virgin Islands 9-1 in two World Cup qualifiers.
Points out of 1000: 130.3
Not too long ago, Vanuatu was one of the top teams in Oceania, challenging all the way to the end of their qualification process.
Unfortunately, Vanuatu fell badly this time, failing to even qualify for the final stage of their qualification.
As a result, they suffered a steep drop in the rankings.
Points out of 1000: 133.1
Kyrgyzstan has struggled to contend for the top spots, failing to even challenge for qualification to the World Cup or the Asian Cup.
However, they have picked up a few good wins over other "-stan" nations, like Pakistan and Tajikistan.
Points out of 1000: 134.1
Andorra is a European team that every nation wants to see in their group.
Through five matches in their World Cup qualification group so far, they have no points with zero goals scored and 17 conceded.
Andorra did have a few matches where they only lost 1-0 and even have a 0-0 draw with Azerbaijan, but they must improve.
Points out of 1000: 134.6
Swaziland has not made it to an Africa Cup of Nations or threatened to make the final stages of World Cup qualifying.
Still, convincing wins over Seychelles, Lesotho and Comoros allow them to sit ahead of other teams..
Points out of 1000: 140.5
Nicaragua may have made it to the 2009 Gold Cup, but they were completely destroyed in all three of their group matches there.
They did pick up some nice wins over Dominica and Puerto Rico, though.
Points out of 1000: 142.6
Grenada were able to defeat Guyana, Puerto Rico and Sain Vincent and the Grenadines over the past four years.
However, they were only able to qualify for the 2009 Gold Cup, where they were destroyed in all three group matches.
165. Sri Lanka
Points out of 1000: 147.2
Sri Lanka was unable to qualify for the Asian Cup or get to the final stages of World Cup qualification, but they boosted their rankings with friendly victories over Brunei, Bhutan and Lebanon.
164. Central African Republic
Points out of 1000: 151.6
The Central African Republic are an up-and-coming side that may be able to crack the top 100 by the end of the year.
After a period of inactivity, they came close to booking a ticket to the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations before coming up just short.
At the moment, they are behind in their World Cup qualifying group, but if they can turn that around and get to Brazil, they will shoot up.
163. The Gambia
Points out of 1000: 151.9
The Gambia has not been in the Africa Cup of Nations or the World Cup, but they got some very valuable wins over Tunisia, Namibia and Gabon.
Points out of 1000: 152.3
Suriname couldn't qualify for either Gold Cups, but ended up upping their ranking through huge routs of British Virgin Islands and Montserrat.
Points out of 1000: 159.8
Pakistan did not qualify for the 2011 Asian Cup and did not get very far in World Cup qualifying, but moved their ranking up through victories over Brunei and Bhutan.
Points out of 1000: 160.1
Laos did not qualify for the 2011 Asian Cup and did not get very far in World Cup qualifying, but moved their ranking up through victories over Timor-Leste, Cambodia and Brunei.
159. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
Points out of 1000: 162.8
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines were unable to qualify for either Gold Cup and did not get very far in World Cup qualifying.
However, they were able to up their ranking through victories over Saint Lucia and Montserrat.
158. Saint Kitts and Nevis
Points out of 1000: 167.0
Saint Kitts and Nevis did not qualify for the Gold Cups and are already eliminated from World Cup contention, but moved their ranking up through victories over Montserrat and Antigua and Barbuda.
Points out of 1000: 168.5
Afghanistan did not qualify for the 2011 Asian Cup and did not get very far in World Cup qualifying, but moved their ranking up through victories over Sri Lanka and Bhutan.
156. Puerto Rico
Points out of 1000: 170.0
Puerto Rico did not qualify for either Gold Cup and did not get very far in World Cup qualifying, but moved their ranking up through victories over Nicaragua and Saint Lucia.
155. Chinese Taipei
Points out of 1000: 172.6
Chinese Taipei did not qualify for the 2011 Asian Cup and did not get very far in World Cup qualifying, but moved their ranking up through victories over Brunei and Malaysia.
Points out of 1000: 173.5
Cuba made it to the 2011 Gold Cup and had a run to the last round of qualification for the 2014 World Cup.
Cuba has some good wins, including some over Panama and Trinidad and Tobago, that hold them above so many in these rankings.
Points out of 1000: 185.8
Belize does not have the great major tournaments to boast, but they have wins over the likes of Guatemala and Nicaragua.
152. Sierra Leone
Points out of 1000: 188.8
Sierra Leone has not been in an Africa Cup of Nations over the past four years, but they do own lucrative victories over Egypt and the Cape Verde Islands.
Further, they are still alive in the World Cup qualifying group that has yet to be completed.
If they can win that group, Sierra Leone will go up quickly.
151. Faroe Islands
Points out of 1000: 188.9
The Faroe Islands has started their rise up the charts, recording victories over Lithuania and Estonia over the past four years.
Points out of 1000: 190.1
Nepal doesn't have any major tournament experience, but over competition on their level, like Timor-Leste, Afghanistan and Bangladesh, they own plenty of victories
Points out of 1000: 196.2
Niger did make it to the past two Africa Cup of Nations tournaments, but they only recorded one point total through the two group stages.
Further, they did not make it deep into either World Cup.
Unfortunately, they didn't win many other matches besides those few qualifiers, pushing their standing down.
Points out of 1000: 197.7
Burundi has not been in an Africa Cup of Nations over the past four years. However, they have recorded wins over Tanzania and Rwanda.
With no hope remaining of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup, Burundi won't be changing their ranking too drastically anytime soon.
147. Hong Kong
Points out of 1000: 198.2
Hong Kong's ranking is built upon victories against opposition around their own level, like Guam and Vietnam.
They do not have any experience at the major tournament level, but that just keeps them from going too far up.
Points out of 1000: 199.6
Malta can't seem to get themselves out of the cellar for qualification groups, but they have done very well in some friendlies.
In fact, they own wins over the Central African Republic and Liechtenstein.
They will need some performances on the qualification level to move up, though.
Points out of 1000: 200.8
Yemen hasn't done too much on the qualification level, but they have picked up a few good friendly victories over Tanzania, Tajikistan, Kenya and Bahrain.
That helps their ranking stay where it is, but they should look to get those results in World Cup qualifiers.
Points out of 1000: 201.75
Lesotho's standing is built on the fact that they have had a few good results over the past few months in important matches.
They eliminated Burundi and drew Zambia, leaving the door open for them to keep challenging for their group.
143. Cape Verde Islands
Points out of 1000: 201.81
In the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, Cape Verde Islands made their major tournament debut and got all the way to the quarterfinals.
However, they are far behind in their World Cup qualification group and stand no chance in getting to Brazil.
142. Solomon Islands
Points out of 1000: 202.9
The Solomon Islands got to the semifinals of the OFC Nations Cup and the final stage of Oceania's World Cup qualifying.
However, they were eliminated by both.
Still, they have some good victories in their region.
Points out of 1000: 203.1
Liberia may not have a major tournament experience over the past four years, but they do have good victories over The Gambia and Cape Verde Islands.
Points out of 1000: 203.3
Luxembourg will hope to finish outside of the bottom of a World Cup qualifying group and improve their ranking.
Perhaps a victory over Azerbaijan will do that.
139. Dominican Republic
Points out of 1000: 206.7
The Dominican Republic doesn't have too many great results.
...Oh, except they beat the British Virgin Islands 17-0.
Points out of 1000: 207.0
Liechtenstein will hope that their 1-1 draw with Lithuania in a World Cup qualifier will be a stepping stone to bigger things.
Points out of 1000: 208.4
Maldives doesn't have many important victories, but they won quite a few good friendlies in competitive matches.
Points out of 1000: 211.2
Bangladesh got a big win in an Asian Cup qualification match with Nepal recently.
It wasn't the most important match, but it was something Bangladesh don't usually expect to get.
Points out of 1000: 216.6
Haiti were beaten out of their spot in CONCACAF's third round of World Cup qualifying by Antigua and Barbuda.
The effects are still being felt and will hurt Haiti for the next few months.
Points out of 1000: 216.8
Myanmar didn't get important wins in qualification matches, but they did get big wins over Brunei, Guam, India, Macau and Cambodia.
Those are big wins for them, so they get pushed up.
Points out of 1000: 220.1
Guyana might not have done much when they got to the third round of CONCACAF's World Cup qualifying, but their ability to beat out Trinidad and Tobago in the second round gave them a huge boost.
After all, Trinidad was an established team that had a better ranking than they did.
This is a case of a win helping Guyana and a loss hurting Trinidad and Tobago.
132. Equatorial Guinea
Points out of 1000: 224.7
Points out of 1000: 226.6
A European side that looked on the rise when they drew Ireland, Kazakhstan seemed to come back to Earth in their two matches with Germany.
They must improve to even challenge for the middle of a group.
Points out of 1000: 226.7
India actually made their way to the 2011 Asian Cup, which was a boost.
They also played and won a lot of friendlies, though they were against lesser opposition.
Points out of 1000: 233.9
Fiji didn't get as far in the OFC Nations Cup or Oceania's World Cup qualifying than they are used to.
Expect their ranking to fall more over the next few months.
Points out of 1000: 240.3
Zimbabwe has not done much good in the qualification stages of their tournaments, but they have a few good victories in other places. For example, they've beaten Mali and Zambia in friendlies.
Points out of 1000: 240.4
Congo does not have much experience in any of the major tournaments, but they are on a perfect path to the World Cup.
After all, they have won every match in their group so far (over Burkina Faso, Niger and Gabon) and are well set up to take the group and go to the playoff.
If they do indeed finish this off, they should move up rapidly.
Points out of 1000: 242.3
Turkmenistan was not in any major tournaments these four years, but they do own wins over Tajikistan and Pakistan.
Points out of 1000: 243.7
Tajikistan got slightly further than a few other teams, but they got there thanks to Syria's forfeited matches.
Their actual victories are not as impressive as other clubs around them.
Expect Tajikistan to fall soon.
124. Antigua and Barbuda
Points out of 1000: 246.0
Antigua and Barbuda put up a good fight against the USA in their World Cup qualifying matches, even picking up a draw at home.
However, they didn't make it into any Gold Cups and missed a lot of opportunities for points.
Points out of 1000: 246.3
Indonesia has missed a lot of good opportunities, including lots of World Cup qualifying matches and the 2011 Asian Cup.
They did pick up some good wins, though, over teams like Timor-Leste and the Philippines.
Points out of 1000: 247.1
Namibia couldn't make it into an Africa Cup of Nations tournament in this time period.
Meanwhile, they are still alive in their World Cup qualification group, sitting just two points behind their two rivals.
Points out of 1000: 250.6
Guinea qualified for the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations, but went out in the group stage after a pretty good display.
With a five-point difference between them and Egypt in their World Cup qualifying group, Guinea is unlikely to find a way back into the group.
If they do, though, getting past Egypt will give them a boost.
Points out of 1000: 252.1
Cyprus seem like a team right on the cusp of making a leap from a bottom European side to a middle European side.
It's doubtful that they will be able to challenge for a major tournament berth any time soon, but finishing third or fourth will be a big step up for Cyprus.
Points out of 1000: 252.2
Benin made it to the 2010 Africa Cup of nations and went out with one point in the group stage.
For their 2014 World Cup qualifying group, though, they have a chance to break through and challenge for a World Cup berth. After all, they are just two point behind Algeria and Mali.
If Benin can pull off a few good results and win the group, that would be a huge step up for them.
Points out of 1000: 255.0
Rwanda never even made it into an Africa Cup of Nations tournament and sit in last in their group for World Cup qualifying.
It's doubtful that they will move much.
Points out of 1000: 255.2
Malaysia missed out on the Asian Cup and a lot of World Cup qualifiers, but they had some big friendly wins over the Syria and Yemen.
Points out of 1000: 257.2
I'm not shy in saying that this is the most unfair rating of the lot.
The problem is that Togo was punished for pulling out of the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations after their team bus was attacked.
Unfortunately, the formula calls for the need to count those against them.
Within a few years, Togo will rise again behind Emmanuel Adebayor.
115. Trinidad and Tobago
Points out of 1000: 257.7
Trinidad and Tobago's participation in the 2006 World Cup was great, but it's been a long time since then.
This time around, the Caribbean club was eliminated from World Cup qualification two rounds before the hexagonal.
As a result, Trinidad are much further down this list than they are used to.
Points out of 1000: 258.6
Vietnam has already been eliminated from World Cup qualification and missed out on the 2011 Asian Cup.
However, they did play some vital friendlies and even has a World Cup qualifying victory over Qatar.
Points out of 1000: 260.9
Palestine hasn't exactly had the best run over the past four years.
They didn't make the Asian Cup and were eliminated early from both World Cup qualifying campaigns.
However, they did record wins over Bahrain and Sudan.
Points out of 1000: 263.6
Singapore have had a tough time with major tournaments over the past four years, never even getting to the final round of a qualifying campaign.
However, they picked up quite a few vital friendly victories to push their ranking up.
Points out of 1000: 264.3
Libya made it into the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations, where they were eliminated in the group stage.
At the moment, they are challenging well for the top spot in their 2014 World Cup qualifying group, sitting just a point behind Cameroon.
If they can overtake Cameroon, they could go up quickly.
Points out of 1000: 267.4
Tahiti are the Oceanic champions, defeating New Caledonia in the final.
However, in their World Cup qualification group, Tahiti couldn't duplicate their feat, ending up third in the group and getting eliminated from contention.
Their status as Oceania champions, though, means they will be in the Confederations Cup this summer.
Points out of 1000: 268.5
Moldova have had a tough time in Europe, really struggling to find their feet and challenge for qualification.
Their best result is undoubtedly their 0-0 draw with the Ukraine.
Points out of 1000: 272.0
Tanzania was never able to make it to any of the three Africa Cup of Nations in the four-year span.
However, they are in a good position in their 2014 World Cup qualifying group, sitting just one point behind the Ivory Coast.
Points out of 1000: 276.6
Botswana made just one appearance in the Africa Cup of Nations, where they recorded zero points.
They now sit last in their group for 2014 World Cup qualifying.
Points out of 1000: 277.5
Mozambique only made it into the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations, where they recorded just one point.
In their 2014 World Cup qualifying group, they sit seven points behind Egypt with three matches to go.
Points out of 1000: 280.6
Lithuania hasn't qualified for a major tournament, but two big draws against Slovakia in their 2014 World Cup qualifying group have them rising.
Points out of 1000: 281.2
Azerbaijan hasn't qualified for a major tournament in its history.
That doesn't look like it's going to change in the 2014 World Cup, where they sit in fourth place behind Portugal and Russia in their group.
Points out of 1000: 281.7
Sudan qualified for one of the three Africa Cup of Nations, in 2012, and made it all the way to the quarterfinals.
At the moment, they sit in last place in their World Cup qualifying group and will probably miss out on Brazil.
Points out of 1000: 283.2
Kenya couldn't qualify for any of the three Africa Cups of Nations and is sitting in last in their World Cup qualifying group.
Points out of 1000: 284.2
Senegal has tons of talent, but their performances at or qualifying for major tournaments or haven't met that potential.
They only made one Africa Cup of Nations, where they won zero points.
100. Northern Ireland
Points out of 1000: 287.7
Northern Ireland hasn't had a very good qualifying campaign in quite a while.
If they keep up performances like the one where they drew Portugal, though, Northern Ireland could race up these rankings.
Points out of 1000: 290.7
Malawi made only one Africa Cup of Nations, where they won one of their group matches. However, they lost the other two and were eliminated.
Meanwhile, they are level with Nigeria on points in their World Cup qualifying group, setting up for a great run-in for the group title.
Points out of 1000: 291.1
Lebanon didn't make an appearance in the 2011 Asian Cup, but they are still very alive in qualification for the 2014 World Cup.
Unfortunately, they missed qualifiers for the 2010 World Cup, pushing them down the ranks.
Points out of 1000: 293.3
Angola made an appearance in all three Africa Cup of Nations, but was twice eliminated in the group stage and once in the quarterfinals.
Meanwhile, they are third in their group of four in World Cup qualifying when only one advances to the next round.
96. Democratic Republic of Congo
Points out of 1000: 296.6
The Democratic Republic made their only appearance in the Africa Cup of Nations in 2013. Despite a good showing, they were eliminated in the group stage.
At the moment, they are trailing in their group and are likely to be eliminated from World Cup qualifying after the group ends.
Points out of 1000: 296.7
Ethiopia made their first appearance in an Africa Cup of Nations in 2013, but were eliminated from the group stage.
The Ethiopians do have a lead over South Africa in Africa's Group A, so they might rise quickly through these rankings.
Points out of 1000: 303.6
Iceland are hitting what seems to be a golden age for them.
In fact, they may just book themselves a spot in the World Cup qualifying playoffs as they find themselves in a relatively weak group.
Points out of 1000: 304.3
Gareth Bale is clearly the saving grace of Wales.
With him healthy and on form, they can soon rise through these rankings.
Points out of 1000: 304.5
Morocco took part in two Africa Cup of Nations, but was eliminated in the group stage of both.
They didn't qualify for the 2010 World Cup and look to have little chance to qualify for 2014.
Points out of 1000: 305.5
The Philippines have played a lot of friendlies, but they were never able to qualify for a major tournament.
Points out of 1000: 312.1
Syria took part in the 2011 Asia Cup and even won one of their group matches.
Unfortunately, though, they fielded an ineligible player in a World Cup qualifying match and were disqualified from the competition.
Points out of 1000: 315.5
Georgia's win over Belarus has made them the only threat to France and Spain atop Group I.
However, it is unlikely that they will overtake France, meaning Georgia will miss all major tournaments.
Points out of 1000: 315.7
Thailand may not have have qualified for any major tournaments, but they have performed well in defeat.
They do not have many hefty losses and own many victories over Singapore and Laos.
Points out of 1000: 315.9
Mali have two consecutive third-place finishes in the Africa Cup of Nations, yet inability to get out of the group of the other or qualify for a World Cup have really held them back.
Points out of 1000: 316.1
Macedonia have already been mathematically eliminated from everything except a playoff spot.
Since that is unlikely to happen, Macedonia will probably miss out on all major tournaments.
Points out of 1000: 318.3
Latvia is deep in fifth in Group G for the 2014 World Cup and has failed to qualify for any other major tournament.
Points out of 1000: 319.4
Gabon has done well to get to where they are, putting forth a good Africa Cup of Nations run in 2012.
However, they have missed both other Cup of Nations and look a safe bet to miss out on the 2014 World Cup.
Points out of 1000: 324.0
Bolivia has been very up and down over the past few years, scoring big wins over Argentina and Uruguay for just a few.
However, they were eliminated from the group stage of the Copa America and are not looking very likely to qualify for the World Cup.
82. El Salvador
Points out of 1000: 326.3
El Salvador came so close to qualifying for the hexagonal past Costa Rica, but couldn't get a result against Mexico when it was needed.
Instead, El Salvador appeared in both Gold Cups but has missed a lot of World Cup opportunities.
Points out of 1000: 328.2
Uganda has had a few great results over the past four years, including a win over Zambia and a draw with Egypt.
However, they have failed to qualify for any major tournaments.
Points out of 1000: 329.3
Albania is making the most of a weak group to try to work their way to a World Cup.
The Europeans are actually level on points for second in their group right now and, if they get a few more good results, could be headed to a playoff.
Points out of 1000: 330.2
Scotland has the privilege of being the first European nation eliminated from World Cup contention.
This fact speaks to the rapid decline of this national side, which was a few minutes away from qualifying Euro 2008.
Points out of 1000: 330.5
Armenia will be happy that they beat Malta, but they are not going to be able to make it through the Czech Republic, Denmark, Bulgaria and Italy to the World Cup.
Points out of 1000: 332.6
It looks like Estonia's playoff appearance in Euro 2012 qualification was just a mirage.
Six matches into their group for qualification to the 2014 World Cup, Estonia sit in fifth place out of six.
Don't expect to see Estonia in Brazil next summer.
Points out of 1000: 333.9
Guatemala gave the USA all it could handle, taking the group down to the final match.
Unfortunately for them, though, the USA won that final match, which even gave Jamaica the opportunity to pass Guatemala for second.
75. Burkina Faso
Points out of 1000: 335.3
Burkina Faso's run to the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations final was miraculous, but it didn't push them quite as far up as one would expect.
After all, they hadn't gotten out of the group stage of either the 2010 or 2012 Africa Cup of Nations.
If Burkina Faso can qualify for the World Cup, though, their ranking will go flying.
Points out of 1000: 340.5
Jamaica's World Cup qualifying bid is doing great things for their ranking.
If they continue getting the results they have been, Jamaica could be headed for a higher ranking and a World Cup berth.
Points out of 1000: 340.5
Just a few years ago, Cameroon were the top African team in the world.
They have suffered a quick fall from grace, though, and could well miss out on the 2014 World Cup after missing the 2012 and 2013 Africa Cups of Nations.
Points out of 1000: 342.1
Canada looked to be on the up when they took their World Cup qualifying group with Panama and Honduras down to the final match.
Their 8-1 loss to Honduras, though, pushed the Canadians right back down.
Points out of 1000: 344.1
Zambia's climb up these rankings continues.
Despite winning the 2012 Africa Cup of Nations and making a fine run in the 2013 Cup of Nations, Zambia still has room for improvement from the early part of this four-year period.
Points out of 1000: 351.2
Bulgaria have been doing quite well recently, earning a pair of draws with Denmark, a draw with the Czech Republic and a draw with Italy.
They hadn't done much before that, but Bulgaria are on the up.
Points out of 1000: 355.0
Finland haven't been very great over the past several years, but their draw with Spain a few months ago was impressive to say the least.
Points out of 1000: 355.3
Belarus looked to be the biggest threat to France for the second spot in their World Cup group.
Instead, they have been poor and failed to live up to their potential.
Points out of 1000: 363.6
Algeria's runs over the past two Africa Cup of Nations have been disappointing to say the least.
Luckily, they are still very much in the running for a 2014 World Cup spot.
66. Costa Rica
Points out of 1000: 364.4
Costa Rica are a real threat in the North American hexagonal.
The Costa Ricans seem far too low here, but they do have a few poor results that, after their impact fades, will allow them to shoot up the rankings soon.
Points out of 1000: 368.6
Austria has been a mid-level European side over the past few seasons and has failed to qualify for a major tournament since hosting Euro 2008.
In fact, Austria haven't even made it to a playoff over the past four years.
64. United Arab Emirates
Points out of 1000: 370.8
UAE has not done much as of late.
They are still resting on the laurels of their World Cup bid from four years ago, but that will quickly go away and make them drop.
Points out of 1000: 371.0
Tunisia are doing well in their attempts to qualify for the 2014 World Cup, but haven't performed as well in the Africa Cup of Nations.
62. New Caledonia
Points out of 1000: 372.9
New Caledonia hung with New Zealand for a while and came close to qualifying for the World Cup instead of them.
Further, they beat New Zealand in the OFC Nations Cup semifinals.
Still, after those matches fade a bit, expect New Caledonia to fade fast.
Points out of 1000: 374.2
Oman's bid for the 2014 World Cup is still very much alive.
Could they be the shock qualifier?
Points out of 1000: 375.4
Israel almost beat Portugal in a World Cup qualifying match.
Sure, they only ended up with a draw, but they have played well enough to hold the advantage on Portugal in their group.
Points out of 1000: 397.4
This seems a bit low for a team as talented as Honduras, but a few bad results have pushed them down the rankings.
Don't be surprised if they rise to the top 40 when those results age a bit.
Points out of 1000: 379.7
The 2022 World Cup hosts are making a strong push and could actually experience their first World Cup final before hosting it.
Points out of 1000: 382.7
Peru may have finished third at the 2011 Copa America, but their qualification bids for the World Cup haven't gone nearly as well.
Points out of 1000: 382.9
Slovenia's matches against the USA and England at the 2010 World Cup are not forgotten, but they haven't done much since then.
Points out of 1000: 383.3
This ranking may seem a bit low for the reigning African champions, but Africa's three cups opened the door for more error from Nigeria.
The Super Eagles' failure to even qualify in 2012, in particular, really hurts their ranking.
Points out of 1000: 383.6
Bahrain came close to qualifying for the World Cup back in 2010, but ended up falling in a playoff.
This time around, they missed out quite quickly and are already out of Brazil.
Bahrain still has the benefit of other qualifying matches, though.
Points out of 1000: 389.1
The Euro 2012 hosts didn't take advantage of their home-field advantage and their ranking reflects that.
It wouldn't be a surprise to see them miss out on Brazil, but they could cause some havoc in their group.
Points out of 1000: 389.4
Montenegro have proved a tough matchup for England.
After a tough attempt at qualifying for the 2010 World Cup, Montenegro came close to knocking off England for Euro 2012 and now lead them in their qualifying group for the 2014 World Cup.
Points out of 1000: 389.6
It's been a swift fall from grace since their appearance in the 2010 World Cup knockout stage.
Slovakia failed to qualify for Euro 2012 and already look in trouble in their 2014 World Cup qualification group.
50. Saudi Arabia
Points out of 1000: 391.1
Saudi Arabia have been surprisingly eliminated from contention for the 2014 World Cup.
They do still have the benefit of their qualification attempt in 2010, though.
49. New Zealand
Points out of 1000: 392.3
New Zealand won Oceania's half a bid for a World Cup qualifier and now await another team in a playoff.
When they don't play other teams from Oceania, though, New Zealand have had some trouble.
Points out of 1000: 392.3
China are the masters of friendlies, winning a hefty percentage of their exhibition matches.
They have been eliminated from World Cup qualification, but many below them are not going to qualify either.
Points out of 1000: 394.2
Norway's qualifying bid for Euro 2012 was a good one, as they finished third to Denmark and Portugal (and level on points with Portugal).
The Norwegians have now been having some trouble with what looked to be an easier World Cup qualifying group, but I wouldn't count them out just yet.
46. North Korea
Points out of 1000: 394.9
North Korea may have actually qualified for the 2010 World Cup, but they have already been eliminated from the qualification for the 2014 World Cup.
However, they are still getting the benefits of their World Cup appearance and their qualification campaign from four years ago.
Points out of 1000: 395.0
How can a team who has been eliminated from World Cup contention still be this high?
Kuwait are still getting the benefit of their matches at this stage from four years ago.
Expect them to fall rapidly over the next few months.
Points out of 1000: 395.4
Turkey seemed to be a sure bet for a playoff spot behind the Netherlands in their World Cup qualifying group.
Instead, they have faltered badly and currently sit in fourth.
Their playoff losses in previous major tournament qualifying campaigns also hurt their ranking.
Points out of 1000: 395.6
Ukraine could be a big threat to England in their World Cup qualifying group.
Points out of 1000: 398.4
Hungary haven't qualified for a major tournament over the past several years, but their finishes haven't been terrible.
Hungary could challenge for a playoff spot in their European qualifying group, but their bid rests on a September match with Romania.
Points out of 1000: 399.5
After a few good wins, Romania looked like a contender in their European group.
A pair of 4-0 and 4-1 losses to the Netherlands erased that notion, though.
40. South Africa
Points out of 1000: 402.3
South Africa hosted the 2010 World Cup and the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, but the Africans have had some trouble capitalizing on their home-field advantage to a large extent.
Points out of 1000: 407.7
Serbia have been in free-fall of late. After qualifying for the 2010 World Cup, they failed to qualify for Euro 2012 and look in quite bad shape for the 2014 World Cup.
Points out of 1000: 407.9
Jordan currently sit in an automatic qualifier spot in their Asian qualifying group, but that position is a bit of a mirage.
With Australia and Iraq holding a match in hand, Jordan's spot is quite tenuous. Further, they have suffered a few lopsided defeats, including a 6-0 loss to Japan.
Points out of 1000: 408.8
With just three matches played in their World Cup qualifying group, Egypt looks well-set to win their group and advance to the next stage of qualifying.
While the Egyptians have been somewhat inconsistent over the past decade, though, one would expect them to excel at the World Cup with the talent they have.
Points out of 1000: 408.8
Panama currently sits atop the North American hexagonal for World Cup qualifying.
While only three matches have been played, their wins and performances over the past several months have been quite impressive, making one wonder if they could nab one of North America's spots in the World Cup.
Points out of 1000: 409.9
Venezuela are showing some good signs and are making a strong push for an improbable World Cup bid in Brazil.
Points out of 1000: 419.4
Uzbekistan has had some great wins lately to shoot them up these rankings.
Currently, the Uzbeks sit in first in their qualifying group, ahead of the likes of South Korea.
Points out of 1000: 419.8
Paraguay are World Cup quarterfinalists and Copa America finalists. So why are they as low as 33rd?
Since, the Paraguayans have been well below par and sit in last in South America's qualifying group for the 2014 World Cup.
Points out of 1000: 420.0
Iraq has been picking up some huge victories recently.
While they still sit in last in their qualifying group, the Iraqis have a match in hand on their foes and could soon be in a qualifying place.
An extra-time thriller with Australia in the Asia Cup quarterfinals also helps their ranking.
Points out of 1000: 426.8
Ghana were a handball away from the World Cup semifinals just three years ago, but haven't been able to capitalize on their success with a Cup of Nations trophy in between.
Points out of 1000: 427.8
Belgium are a very good team.
What makes them 30th in these rankings, then?
Before the past few months, they haven't had that many great results, finishing fourth and third in their qualifying groups for the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012, respectively.
However, Belgium should rise up these rankings quickly and challenge for the World Cup next summer.
Points out of 1000: 438.2
USA have been having some trouble in North America, losing to Jamaica and Honduras thus far in their qualification bid.
Still, the Americans have put themselves in a good position to qualify for Brazil.
28. Czech Republic
Points out of 1000: 440.2
Czech Republic's run to the Euro quarters was impressive, but the Czechs have looked awful in their qualifying group for the 2014 World Cup.
With England, Montenegro and Denmark already ahead of them, it is doubtful that the Czech Republic will be in Brazil.
27. Republic of Ireland
Points out of 1000: 447.4
Ireland's run at Euro 2012 was one of the worst at the tournament, but they have been fairly consistent in qualifying.
Still, with Germany and Sweden also in their group for qualification, Ireland could be in danger of missing the 2014 World Cup.
Points out of 1000: 451.6
Iran has the talent, but it's tough to bet on them after they missed out on the 2010 World Cup.
Sitting in third at the moment, the Iranians have a lot still left to do before booking their ticket to Brazil.
Points out of 1000: 452.5
After falling to Portugal in the playoffs for the past two major tournaments, Bosnia-Herzegovina look ready to push their way into a final tournament.
Don't sleep on them when they head to Brazil.
Points out of 1000: 454.5
What is the only nation to beat Spain in the past three major tournaments?
Switzerland, who defeated them in their first match of the 2010 World Cup.
Unfortunately, after that win, Switzerland faded badly and were eliminated from the group stage.
After missing out on Euro 2012, though, Switzerland have been playing well recently and could be headed to the 2014 World Cup with momentum.
Points out of 1000: 457.6
Colombia have been proving their fantastic abilities of late, with Radamel Falcao firing them to a top spot in the South American group.
If anything, Colombia deserve to be higher. If this play keeps up, though, they will soon find themselves rising through this list.
Points out of 1000: 457.9
After strong runs at the 2010 World Cup and 2011 Copa America, Chile were expected to be a sleeper heading into Brazil.
Instead, they have been struggling in the South American qualifying group and could miss out on Brazil entirely.
Points out of 1000: 458.3
After being eliminated in the group stage of the World Cup and Euro 2012 over the past four years, Denmark will hope to one up that in Brazil.
However, their qualifying group is proving more difficult than originally thought.
Points out of 1000: 459.6
No matter how poor they look, Greece are always a threat.
Just look at their run at Euro 2012, where they looked dead in the water before somehow getting to the quarterfinals.
Points out of 1000: 459.7
Ecuador have been playing fantastically lately. Hopefully, they can make this translate to a major tournament in Brazil.
18. Ivory Coast
Points out of 1000: 468.5
It's beginning to look like Ivory Coast's "golden age" will not produce a trophy.
In three Africa Cups of Nations over the past four years, the Elephants have threatened and failed to win.
With their stars beginning to age, the Ivory Coast may need a good run at the World Cup to establish their place in the annals of African football.
Points out of 1000: 469.3
France have been gradually recovering from their horrendous 2010 World Cup debacle.
Given their group with Spain, though, France could be headed to their third consecutive playoff for a major tournament.
Points out of 1000: 483.5
Australia finished Asian runners-up in 2011 and fell out of the group stage in the 2010 World Cup.
Based on current standings, their 2014 World Cup bid is in some serious trouble, so this spot in sixteenth could be fleeting.
Points out of 1000: 484.9
Sweden's run at Euro 2012 didn't take off in time after losses to Ukraine and England.
Since those two losses, though, Sweden have done quite well, defeating France and England and coming back from 4-0 down to draw Germany.
Could Sweden really take off and make a run in Brazil?
With Zlatan Ibrahimovic, anything is possible.
14. South Korea
Points out of 1000: 492.5
South Korea's run at the 2010 World Cup was only cut short by a stunning Luis Suarez strike for Uruguay. Their run at the Asia Cup was only cut short by a penalty shootout.
The Koreans have been slightly unlucky, but they have shown their talent in the results they have gotten.
However, their World Cup bid hangs in the balance with three matches left to play.
Points out of 1000: 493.0
A few months ago, Uruguay would have been near the top of this list.
After all, they finished fourth at the 2010 World Cup and won the Copa America.
Since then, though, Uruguay have been below-par, pushing them down this list and down their World Cup qualifying group.
Points out of 1000: 4933.3
The Asian champions from 2011 have been on quite the tear over the past four years.
Japan's run to the World Cup Round of 16 was great, but their dominance in qualifying is truly impressive.
The Japanese could be a good sleeper for Brazil's tournament.
Points out of 1000: 494.1
Mexico has had a strange last couple of months.
Their home mystique seems to have escaped them over their past few home matches, while they have drawn every match so far in 2013.
With two Gold Cup titles, a World Cup Round of 16 appearance and some great wins already under their belt, though, Mexico belongs at number 11.
Points out of 1000: 505.8
Russia have not quite reached their potential over the past four years.
In 2010 World Cup qualifying, the Russians squandered a lead against Slovenia to get themselves eliminated before the tournament in South Africa. At Euro 2012, Russia somehow lost to Greece to get themselves eliminated before the knockout stage.
Over the past few months, though, Russia has played much better and look on their way to winning a tough qualifying group over Portugal.
Russia could be getting set to finally reach their potential in Brazil.
Points out of 1000: 506.1
Over the past decade, Croatia have been perpetual under-achievers.
The Croats have tons of talent, but have continually fallen short of their potential.
After all, the team fell short of qualifying for the 2010 World Cup and was eliminated from the group stage of Euro 2012.
With Belgium also in their group for 2014 World Cup qualifying, Croatia's ninth-place spot is tenuous.
Points out of 1000: 534.5
As self-deprecating as their fans may be, England belong here at number eight.
They haven't exactly lit up the world with their flair, but the Three Lions have been consistent over the past four years and done just about as well as they could.
Still, a tough Montenegro side could make their path to Brazil very difficult.
Points out of 1000: 536.2
Italy finished runners-up at Euro 2012, but the Azzurri are not quite the juggernaut that that suggests.
At the 2010 World Cup, the Italians were eliminated in the group stage. Further, their performance in the Euro 2012 final saw them fall 4-0 to Spain and their qualification bids have been slightly harder than expected.
Italy has the potential to be very good, but I wouldn't bet the house on them performing at their best on any given day.
Points out of 1000: 536.4
Portugal just keeps struggling in the build-ups to major tournaments.
The Portuguese had to go to a playoff to book their place in the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012. Now, they look to be on a path for yet another playoff.
However, in major tournaments, Portugal's only better has been an all-time great Spain side, who eliminated them from both of the last two major tournaments.
Points out of 1000: 541.1
Argentina have been hot recently, jumping out to a lead in the South American group for World Cup qualifying.
Despite their good form, though, Argentina's exits from the World Cup and Copa America pushed them down a bit in these rankings.
Still, one wonders if there's a team that Argentina wouldn't be able to beat on their day.
Points out of 1000: 576.2
The World Cup runners-up, the Netherlands had a terrible Euro 2012 where they lost every match in the group stage.
However, their complete dominance in qualifiers ensured that the Netherlands did not fall too far down the rankings.
Points out of 1000: 576.8
For Brazil, any four-year span without a trophy is a disappointment. Even more, to fall in the quarterfinals of both the World Cup and the Copa is unacceptable.
However, Brazil have not been burdened by World Cup qualifying for next year's tournament and have been given the opportunity to build their resume with friendlies.
Given their win percentage, they make some sense at third. Given the eye test, though, their position at third in the world is somewhat questionable.
Points out of 1000: 607.2
No matter how well they play in the prelude to tournaments, the Germans seem to keep falling short at the end of tournaments.
With semifinal appearances in the World Cup and Euro, though, Germany are still good enough to be number two.
Points out of 1000: 650.6
Spain have consecutive Euro titles with a World Cup trophy sandwiched in between.
This ranking is automatic.
So there you have it. I hope those rankings were enjoyable and said what you wanted to hear.
What team do you have going all the way in Brazil next summer?
Is there anything in these rankings that was way off? Any tweaks you have in mind?
Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.
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