Power Ranking Every World Football National Team

Frank WagnerCorrespondent IAugust 5, 2013

Power Ranking Every World Football National Team

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    With the commencement of August, world football's offseason is coming to a close, shifting the focus from international competitions to the clubs.

    It has been a busy summer for many of the world's most prestigious national teams.

    Brazil's triumph over Spain in the Confederations Cup final made one wonder if there could be a shift in power come next year's World Cup.

    The USA's Gold Cup victory was grand, but the story of that tournament was the complete collapse of Mexico, who twice lost to Panama and failed to reach the final for the first time since 2005.

    While those two tournaments were the main attractions, many friendlies were sprinkled in as teams geared up for the final stretch of World Cup qualifying.

    So where does every national team currently stand? And what can we expect to see from them with the World Cup less than a year away?

    Here are the latest Wagner World Rankings for every international team.

Methodology

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    For those who haven't seen an installment of these rankings before, here is an explanation of how they are decided.

    First, I compile the results of every international match on a four-year window. The reasoning behind this time frame is twofold: A longer period would not be indicative of the same team, while a shorter one would produce too small a sample size.

    From there, every type of match is assigned a value. For example, a friendly is worth 100 points, while a World Cup group match is worth 360 points.

    Every match is then graded and each team awarded a score, based on four factors:

    • The result of the match
    • The venue: home, away or on a neutral site
    • The strength of opposition
    • How recently the match was played (to add a weight of form)

    Factoring in each team's missed opportunities (i.e. the World Cup final if they did not make it) and re-weighting for continental tournaments finishes the process, producing a final score out of 1,000 for each team.

    This list ranks the nations based on that final score.

    Now, let's get to the rankings.

     

209-181

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    Ranking CountryPoints out of 1,000
    209  Turks and Caicos Islands 0.16
    208  Bhutan 1.22
    207 South Sudan South Sudan 5.43
    206  San Marino 5.76
    205  Djibouti 7.24
    204  Montserrat 9.36
    203  Anguilla 11.55
    202  Somalia 13.83
    201  Eritrea 14.36
    200  Cook Islands 14.72
    199  British Virgin Islands 14.96
    198 Mauritania Mauritania 16.83
    197 Brunei Brunei 17.82
    196  Tonga 20.37
    195  Macau  21.18
    194  Seychelles 21.60
    193  American Samoa 21.75
    192  Papua New Guinea 22.23
    191  Comoros 26.70
    190  Cayman Islands 26.73
    189  Bahamas 26.91
    188  Mauritius 27.11
    187  Sao Tome e Principe 28.00
    186  Samoa 28.74
    185 East Timor Timor-Leste 28.86
    184  US Virgin Islands 29.11
    183  Madagascar 31.15
    182  Mongolia 33.36
    181  Aruba 34.27

     

     

    Analysis

    The bottom of the barrel has stayed fairly consistent since the last time these rankings were released in late June.

    However, there were a few interesting moves.

    One of the biggest climbers in the group were Mauritius, who made up seven spots from 195 to 188 thanks to a 4-0 victory against Seychelles in late July.

    Despite that loss, Seychelles were still able to move up a few spots. While their points total fell, that of their nearest rivals also dropped due to inactivity and good results receding further into the past.

    A team that fell a fair way in this group is Bahamas, who went down 15 spots from 174 to 189 in the past month-and-a-half.

    Strangely enough, they are the only national team with a perfect record over the past four years, winning every match.

    However, they have played just two matches, destroying the bottom-ranked Turks and Caicos Islands in consecutive World Cup qualifiers in 2011.

    Inactivity since then has seen the effect these wins had on the rankings diminish quickly.

180-151

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    Ranking CountryPoints out of 1,000
    180 Swaziland37.89
    179 Dominica38.94
    178 Guinea-Bissau39.33
    177 Vanuatu40.71
    176 Guam41.72
    175 Fiji41.93
    174 Chad45.56
    173 Barbados45.58
    172 St Lucia47.74
    171 Cambodia47.88
    170 Gambia50.27
    169 Kyrgyzstan52.70
    168  Sri Lanka54.07
    167 Bermuda61.26
    166 Pakistan62.26
    165 Curacao65.59
    164 Lesotho67.36
    163 Afghanistan68.45
    162 Laos69.39
    161 Nicaragua73.36
    160 Chinese Taipei73.49
    159 Central African Republic74.74
    158 Grenada78.59
    157 Burundi79.17
    156 Suriname79.80
    155 St Kitts and Nevis82.54
    154 Nepal83.09
    153 Bangladesh83.39
    152 St Vincent and the Grenadines85.28
    151 Puerto Rico85.48

     

    Analysis

    There were not many interesting developments in this group over the past month-and-a-half.

    One of the more intriguing points is Nicaragua remaining at 161 following their record of losing every match at the 2009 Gold Cup with a failed attempt to qualify for the 2013 tournament. 

    Meanwhile, the Central African Republic moved up 10 spots to 159.

    Their ranking has been lower than one might expect due to the fact that they didn't play a match between 2007 and 2010.

    Over the next year, CAR will surely rise as they continue to fill a four-year window.

150-121

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    Ranking CountryPoints out of 1,000
    150 Equatorial Guinea85.70
    149 Solomon Islands88.23
    148 Benin89.01
    147 Maldives89.72
    146 Liberia90.18
    145 Myanmar90.88
    144 Yemen92.37
    143 Sierra Leone92.46
    142 Hong Kong92.83
    141 Namibia98.03
    140 Turkmenistan98.23
    139 Belize99.91
    138 Rwanda102.28
    137 Cuba109.11
    136 Tajikistan110.28
    135 Dominican Republic110.37
    134 Faroe Islands112.10
    133 Zimbabwe112.88
    132 Niger114.08
    131 India115.17
    130 Guyana116.17
    129 Indonesia117.95
    128 Vietnam118.88
    127 Palestine122.18
    126 Malaysia122.24
    125 Mozambique122.98
    124 Kenya123.72
    123 Haiti125.61
    122 Guinea125.75
    121 Andorra126.60

     

    Analysis

    A trio of teams are quickly rising in this group.

    Thanks to victories over Malawi and Lesotho, Zimbabwe have moved up 13 spots to 133 despite losing to a very good Zambia team.

    Haiti's nine-spot climb to 123 was well-deserved and long overdue.

    The Haitians broke a seven-match winless streak with a 2-0 victory over Trinidad and Tobago in the Gold Cup. That losing run, it should be noted, consisted of tough matches against the likes of Italy and Spain.

    However, Haiti's rise was kept in check thanks to losses to Honduras and El Salvador throughout the rest of their Gold Cup campaign.

    Finally, Cuba's ascent of 13 places to 137 came despite drubbings at the hands of USA and Panama at the Gold Cup.

    The Cubans' 4-0 victory over Belize was enough to assure them of a fine rise through the table.

120-91

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    Ranking CountryPoints out of 1,000
    120 Botswana128.84
    119 Antigua and Barbuda130.46
    118 Singapore135.91
    117 Sudan138.84
    116 Togo142.39
    115 Syria145.37
    114 Trinidad and Tobago148.24
    113 Philippines150.18
    112 Congo DR154.16
    111 Tanzania155.14
    110 Thailand158.49
    109 Lebanon162.01
    108Tahiti164.40
    107 Angola166.43
    106 Congo168.40
    105 El Salvador178.95
    104 Canada179.96
    103 Guatemala185.28
    102 Saudi Arabia188.77
    101 United Arab Emirates191.52
    100 North Korea197.76
    99 Bahrain198.04
    98 Scotland203.44
    97 China205.86
    96 Qatar206.41
    95 Liechtenstein207.72
    94 Kuwait208.60
    93 Oman211.55
    92 Luxembourg216.41
    91 Malta218.47

     

    Analysis

    The movement in this group was influenced mostly by the unpredictable nature of the 2013 Gold Cup.

    Trinidad and Tobago got a slight boost thanks to their relatively strong campaign, which saw them push Mexico to the limit in the quarterfinals.

    El Salvador took a small hit due to a relatively weak campaign in which they barely beat a weaker Haiti side and drew with Trinidad and Tobago.

    Canada dropped 11 spots after going winless through the group.

    Scotland is not a country you would expect to see this low down. Their terrible World Cup qualifying campaign has them dropping through the rankings quickly, with a current status of 98.

    At the other end of the spectrum, Congo gained an incredible 25 spots up to 106 thanks to the continued success of their own qualifying campaign.

90-61

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    Ranking CountryPoints out of 1,000
    90 Libya224.84
    89 Malawi225.83
    88 Senegal226.04
    87 Mali228.91
    86 Kazakhstan229.26
    85 Iraq230.32
    84 Gabon231.07
    83 Cyprus242.54
    82 New Caledonia243.99
    81 Ethiopia260.10
    80 Cape Verde Islands260.16
    79 Cameroon261.60
    78 Uganda262.83
    77 Northern Ireland268.80
    76 Moldova278.85
    75 Lithuania279.38
    74 Egypt291.79
    73 Azerbaijan292.59
    72 Latvia294.68
    71 Iceland297.83
    70 Wales299.18
    69 Jamaica302.00
    68 Macedonia303.04
    67 Morocco308.52
    66 Georgia312.05
    65 New Zealand312.41
    64 Bolivia315.94
    63 Tunisia316.55
    62 Algeria319.84
    61 Estonia323.31

     

    Analysis

    The most intriguing story in this assortment of teams is Cape Verde Islands.

    The Africans rose an incredible 37 spots in the rankings—without playing a match.

    The world football governing body, FIFA, awarded Cape Verde with two 3-0 victories over Equatorial Guinea in World Cup qualifying matches as their opponents were found to have fielded an ineligible player in both.

    The original matches had ended as a 4-3 Equatorial Guinea victory and a 2-1 Cape Verde victory, respectively, results which eliminated Cape Verde from contention for the World Cup.

    The wins, allied to remaining alive in World Cup contention, allowed the team to fly up the rankings this month.

    Meanwhile, New Zealand and New Caledonia both fell substantially, as they are still reeling from losses at the OFC Nations Cup. Egypt gained seven places due to their unbeaten World Cup qualifying campaign.

60-31

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    Ranking CountryPoints out of 1,000
    60 South Africa324.62
    59 Albania337.25
    58 Belarus340.57
    57 Armenia342.26
    56 Bulgaria343.28
    55 Finland362.73
    54  Burkina Faso 364.15
    53 Honduras365.42
    52 Slovakia373.85
    51 Austria376.73
    50 Israel377.06
    49 Montenegro377.09
    48 Zambia378.74
    47Costa Rica Costa Rica379.21
    46 Jordan380.82
    45 Serbia381.24
    44 Turkey383.72
    43 Slovenia385.30
    42 Poland386.64
    41 Hungary389.04
    40 Panama397.53
    39 Norway398.03
    38 Romania399.87
    37 Venezuela403.34
    36 Peru411.08
    35 Uzbekistan413.65
    34 Ukraine418.79
    33 Paraguay427.55
    32 Denmark430.35
    31 Nigeria431.32

     

    Analysis

    South Africa's rise through the rankings is similar to that of Cape Verde.

    The South Africans were beneficiaries of an Ethiopia mistake, as an ineligible player forced FIFA to reverse a World Cup qualifying result that had eliminated South Africa from contention and now sees them rise 30 places.

    Another interesting change is Panama's 12-place climb to 40 after their victory over Mexico to earn a berth in the Gold Cup final.

    Meanwhile, Montenegro and Israel's meteoric rises through the rankings were brought down to Earth, each of them standing still thanks to inactivity and less-than-ideal results in World Cup qualifying.

    Nigeria also saw some momentum quashed, as they fell one spot out of the top 30 after a tough Confederations Cup campaign.

30-21

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    Ranking CountryPoints out of 1,000
    30Ireland431.40
    29Iran438.22
    28Czech Republic441.11
    27Switzerland443.67
    26Belgium444.90
    25Ecuador446.82
    24Chile452.12
    23Bosnia and Herzegovina452.28
    22Greece454.33
    21South Korea458.32

     

    Analysis

    Now we are getting to the more interesting teams as we head toward the World Cup.

    Ireland's past successes seem to be wearing off as their poor performances at Euro 2012 and their fourth-place standing in World Cup qualifying have them back to 30.

    Iran's qualification for Brazil still has them flying high, even if they fell a spot.

    Czech Republic are creeping back into contention in their World Cup qualifying group, but they have also fallen a spot.

    Switzerland's two-place drop reflects their inability to close what looks to be the easiest qualifying group in Europe.

    Belgium have fallen a bit due to other teams' ascensions up the table, but they are surely a team to watch in the coming months.

    Poor results of old seem to be washing away for Ecuador as they move up four spots.

    Chile gained two places thanks to two big World Cup wins that have them in the South American qualifying zone.

    Bosnia and Herzegovina are yet to pass Greece in the rankings, but their seemingly inevitable qualification for the World Cup at their expense should take care of that.

    South Korea are the only team to fall out of the top 20 this month, as their run of four winless matches has them down four spots to 21.

20-11

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    Ranking CountryPoints out of 1,000
    20Ghana458.38
    19Ivory Coast471.72
    18USA472.41
    17Australia472.42
    16Mexico473.55
    15Japan474.64
    14France474.77
    13Colombia475.02
    12Sweden478.38
    11Russia484.72

     

    Analysis

    The middle eight of this group of 10 is so incredibly close that each one could easily climb to No. 12 by next month.

    Ghana and Russia are the only real outliers, with Ghana barely remaining in the top 20 because of their tough World Cup qualifying group with Zambia and Russia suffering a qualifying loss to Portugal.

    Ivory Coast have fallen slightly after a loss to Ghana, while Australia's losses to Japan and China set them back.

    Japan, on the other hand, flew nine spots up the rankings thanks to two big wins over Australia and South Korea.

    USA understandably gained the most, as their Gold Cup triumph pushed them up 14 spots to 18.

    Mexico have been so out of form recently that the weakening of their Gold Cup squad barely saved them from falling below their North American rivals—though they are just over 0.1 percent higher than USA.

    Finally, Colombia's rise up the table is getting into high gear, while France and Sweden remain in lofty spots despite tough World Cup qualifying groups.

10. Croatia

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    Ranking CountryPoints out of 1,000
    10CroatiaCroatia487.54

     

    Analysis

    Croatia have been hanging around this position for quite some time, but they could be in store for a drop very soon.

    The Croatians lost consecutive matches in June, one a big World Cup qualifier to Scotland that could gift the group to Belgium and push Croatia into a playoff.

    After the disappointment of the 2010 World Cup, one should not take Croatia's qualification for granted despite this sides talent.

9. Uruguay

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    Ranking CountryPoints out of 1,000
    9Uruguay510.99

     

    Analysis

    Uruguay's run in the 2013 Confederations Cup showed again how inconsistent they are over time.

    The South Americans are riding some great results in major tournaments over the past four years, as they won the 2011 Copa America and finished fourth at both the 2010 World Cup and 2013 Confederations Cup.

    However, Uruguay's poor form in World Cup qualifying has them facing elimination heading into the final few matches of the CONMEBOL group.

    Uruguay could definitely be a dangerous team in Brazil next summer. This threat is contingent on them qualifying first, though.

8. England

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    Ranking CountryPoints out of 1,000
    8England516.50

     

    Analysis

    This England side seem to catch quite a bit of flak—especially from their own media—for a perceived lack of ability.

    No, this is not the most stylish team in the world, and it probably isn't made to win a major tournament.

    However, it is one of the more consistent teams in the world.

    In 44 matches over the past four years, England have lost just seven, of which only three were to teams ranked lower than them: a meaningless World Cup qualifier with a dangerous Ukraine, a friendly with France and in a Zlatan Ibrahimovic masterclass against Sweden.

    England's ability to beat the teams they are supposed to beat has guided them through major tournaments and to where they are in these rankings.

    However, that doesn't equate to victory on the biggest stages.

7. Portugal

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    Ranking CountryPoints out of 1,000
    7PortugalPortugal529.13

     

    Analysis

    Portugal may be leading their World Cup qualifying group, but they are not favorites to win it and qualify automatically for Brazil.

    The side's poor form in the early stages of qualifying has them just two points clear of Russia with two extra matches played, giving the Russians two chances to pass them.

    Furthermore, Israel are just three points behind them with a match in hand.

    Portugal might be facing an uphill battle to qualify for next summer's World Cup, but this side should be used to it.

    They have barely qualified for each of the past two major tournaments, the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012, before advancing through the group stage of both.

    Don't look too far into Portugal's qualifying struggles if they can find a way to get to Brazil.

6. Argentina

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    Ranking CountryPoints out of 1,000
    6ArgentinaArgentina537.31

     

    Analysis

    On paper, Argentina are one heck of a team.

    Combining the likes of Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain and Angel di Maria with Lionel Messi should lead to good things.

    That has been the case of late, with them racing to a comfortable lead in the CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying group.

    However, the Argentines were a bit of a work in progress before then, as evidenced by their 4-0 loss to Germany in the 2010 World Cup quarterfinals and elimination from the 2011 Copa America at home.

    Given their recent form, though, Argentina should be a huge threat in Brazil.

5. Italy

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    Ranking CountryPoints out of 1,000
    5ItalyItaly548.61

     

    Analysis

    Italy look to be a quiet threat ahead of the World Cup.

    The Azzurri's incredible performance in the Confederations Cup semifinals against Spain showed the type of Euro 2012 final we could have seen if injuries hadn't reared their ugly head.

    However, Italy's poor performances at the 2010 World Cup are holding them back from pushing into the top few spots on this list.

    This Italian side might be getting a little bit older, but they certainly possess the skill to push any team to the limit.

4. Netherlands

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    Ranking CountryPoints out of 1,000
    4NetherlandsNetherlands556.40

     

    Analysis

    The Netherlands' past four years have been marred by just a few months of results.

    The Dutch side powered to the World Cup final in 2010 and came so close to defeating Spain. Furthermore, they have been dominant in qualifying campaigns, dropping just three points (in a meaningless match, no less) in the past three campaigns combined.

    However, they absolutely folded at Euro 2012, losing every match in the tournament in a stretch of winning just three matches in 11.

    They have righted the ship since then, though, and could well be on their way to a strong showing in Brazil.

3. Brazil

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    Ranking CountryPoints out of 1,000
    3Brazil570.17

     

    Analysis

    Brazil's incredible run to the Confederations Cup title led many to imagine what could be in store for them next summer.

    The Brazilians certainly have the talent and the potential, but are they ready to shine on the biggest stage? Can they handle the pressure of playing in front of their home fans?

    If the Confederations Cup is any indication, Brazil is in for one heck of a party on July 13, 2014.

2. Germany

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    Ranking CountryPoints out of 1,000
    2Germany590.02

     

    Analysis

    After falling in the semifinals of both the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012, Germany enter the 2014 World Cup hoping to finally get back to winning those final two matches.

    The Germans certainly have the talent to pull this off, a fact that is made abundantly clear by their incredible record in recent qualifying campaigns, where they haven't lost since 2007.

    It really is a championship-or-bust prospect for Germany entering Brazil.

1. Spain

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    Ranking CountryPoints out of 1,000
    1SpainSpain651.08

     

    Analysis

    There's no questioning who the top team in the world is at this point.

    Spain are the reigning World Cup and Euro champions, a feat that has established them as one of the finest national teams in history.

    Their lopsided defeat to Brazil in the Confederations Cup final may have slightly lessened their hold on the top spot, but the Spaniards are still far and away the best team in the world.

Conclusion

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    I hope you enjoyed the list.

    I tried to get around to mentioning as many of the teams as possible and giving a reason for their placement, but I obviously couldn't get to all of them.

    If you have any questions or thoughts, or just have a general suggestion for the rankings, please comment on the article and/or contact me on Twitter at the link below.

    Until next time, stay updated by following me and the rankings on Twitter at the links posted below.

     

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