NEWS
Thursday November 23 2017
Italy climb in FIFA rankings

Italy have climbed above England in the latest FIFA World Rankings - despite failing to reach the World Cup.

The Azzurri were beaten 1-0 on aggregate by Sweden in the play-off earlier this month, meaning they failed to qualify for the first time in 60 years.

However, FIFA has today published its latest world rankings, with Italy climbing one place to 14th, leapfrogging England who dropped three places.

The rankings are calculate over a four year period, by adding the average number of points gained from matches during the past 12 months to the average points gained before that, with yearly depreciation.

Points are calculated by multiplying the match result, the importance of the match, the strength of the opposition and the strength of the confederation.

What that means is that playing friendlies has a negative effect on a nation’s ranking, as they’re worth just one point in terms of match importance, compared to 2.5 points for a qualifier or four points for a World Cup match.

That means that even winning a friendly will reduce a team’s average over the four years, so teams like Poland, who are ranked seventh, try to play as few as possible.

The top five remain unchanged in the World Rankings, with Germany still ranked as the best team in the world.

Spain have risen two places to sixth, with Switzerland also entering the top ten after rising three places to eighth.

North Korea were the most improved team, climbing 18 places to 114th, while Laos fell by 22 and are ranked 184th in the world.

Anguilla, the Bahamas, Eritrea, Gibraltar, Somalia and Tonga are jointly ranked as the worst team in the world, with zero points.

FIFA World Rankings:

1) Germany

2) Brazil

3) Portugal

4) Argentina

5) Belgium

6) Spain

7) Poland

8) Switzerland

9) France

10) Chile

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13) Colombia

14) Italy

15) England