Brazil is currently ranked No. 22 in the world. This is the first time ever that Brazil has slipped below No. 20 on the FIFA rankings, and for a country that prides itself on football this is an embarrassment. Teams that are ahead of Brazil include Switzerland, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Denmark, Ghana. In fact Brazil sits between Ghana and Mali, and just 5 teams separate them from the USA (No. 28).
But FIFA rankings are flawed and not similar to college football or basketball rankings. There is a formula but no human element. So while many people fear playing Neymar and Brazil, their ranking doesn’t reflect it.
So how is Brazil ranked so low? The formula is as follows (visual aid here):
Match x Importance x Team x Confederation = Points
For Matches you get 3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw and zero for a loss. Brazil has 4 draws in their last 5 matches.
Importance reflects the significance of the match.You earn 4 points for a World Cup finals match, 3 for confederation level finals matches, 2.5 points for a world cup or confederation level qualifier. And friendlies get you 1 point. But as the host nation, Brazil is already qualified so they’ve played nothing but friendlies at 1 point each, while the nations trying to qualify are getting 2.5 points.
For team points you take their oppositions FIFA ranking and subtract if from 200 points. So playing No. 10 Ecuador would get you 190 points. The Confederation ranking is based on where the opposition plays. You get one point for UEFA and CONMEBOL (South America) teams, 0.88 points for CONCACAF (North America), 0.86 points for CAF (Africa), and 0.85 points AFC (Asia) and OFC (Oceania).
So the formula hasn’t benefited Brazil.
They have those 4 draws, and their only win came against Bolivia, who is ranked 53rd (only 147 points) in the world. They haven’t had to play any matches of any importance, because they’re already qualified as the host nation, so all those friendlies (over the past 2 years) get them one point. Essentially meaningless games so they aren’t risking their player’s health.
But where the human element does come in is Vegas. Brazil are the favorites to win the World Cup at 10/3 odds. While No. 1 Spain and No. 3 Argentina has 5/1 odds and No. 2 Germany has 11/2 odds.
Here are the FIFA top 30:
- Ivory Coast
- Czech Republic
- United States