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The FIFA World Rankings determine which football side is the best in the world in between world cups and other tournaments.
Powerhouse countries like Argentina, Brazil and Germany traditionally dominate the standings, while Australia typically sits around the 40-50 mark. The rankings are updated on a monthly basis, often on the first or second Thursday of the month (European time).
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To see the standings of all 209 nations, head over to FIFA’s website.
The rankings aim to ensure the sides with the best recent performances are ranked highly. This is done by judging a team’s performance over the past four years, with a far heavier weighting placed on games in the last 12 months.
A team’s points total is found by adding the average number of points from matches in the past year and the average number of points from matches from more than a year ago.
Games from 12-24 months ago are given a 50 per cent weighting, 24-36 months are weighted 30 per cent and matches 36-48 months old are weighted just 20 per cent.
Points per match
A formula is used to determine how many points a team gains from a match.
The formula is: match result x match importance x opposition team strength x opposition team confederation strength = points for a match
The value of match result ranges from 0-3, depending on the outcome. A loss is worth nothing, a draw or loss on penalty shootout is worth one, a penalty shootout win is worth two and any other win is worth three.
The match importance varies from 1-4. A friendly is worth one, a World Cup or confederation-level cup (such as the Asian Cup) qualifier is worth 2.5, a confederation-level or Confederations Cup match is worth three and a World Cup appearance is worth four.
The final two values are designed to judge the quality of the opposition side. Opposition team strength is found by subtracting the side’s ranking from 200, while each confederation is given a strength ranking. CONMEBOL (or South America) is worth 1.0, UEFA (Europe) is worth 0.99 and every other confederation is weighted at 0.75.
Australia has something of a mixed history in the FIFA rankings.
Their best ever ranking came in September 2009, when they were listed as the 14th-best side in the world.
The side’s worst ranking came five years later in November 2014 following a disastrous lead-up to and group stage of the World Cup, when they lost all three pool matches against Chile, The Netherlands and Spain. They slipped to 102nd in the world, the only time they’ve broken three figures.