Latest FIFA Men's Rankings: Best International Teams in the World
You have been looking at the best national men's teams to help with your betting decisions and saw the FIFA World Ranking. The list shows you how FIFA member associations rank according to their points. However, you are confused about why England is five places higher than Germany or how Brazil is the best national team in the latest world rankings. With the World Cup coming up, it makes sense bettors want to be better informed on how the FIFA Rankings 2023 are calculated and how they impact the biggest soccer tournament globally.
History of FIFA World Rankings
Soccer is the world's most popular sport, and the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) is its governing body. The organization was formed in 1904 to manage competitions among its member associations, eight at the time. FIFA is currently responsible for 211 member associations, which are required to be in one of its six confederations. The governing body was created to promote the integrity of the game and advocate for fair play.
Every year, FIFA publishes overall rankings of men's national teams. The ratings are supposed to reflect a team's quality and progress over various tournaments. FIFA introduced the men's rankings in 1992 as a way to compare the strengths of member associations. The following year, the organization released the ratings more frequently. Since the first FIFA men's ranking, there has been a lot of criticism about how accurate the calculation method is in measuring a team's capabilities. Consequently, FIFA had to revise the system a few times, which you will learn more about in a short while.
FIFA Men's World Ranking Leaders
A look at how different teams have performed since FIFA started rating member associations paints a picture of men's soccer over the years. In the history of the ranking, only eight nations have held the top spot. These are Germany, Brazil, Italy, France, Argentina, Spain, the Netherlands, and Belgium. Germany was the first member association to lead the rankings in 1993. Brazil replaced it as the rank leader during its campaign for the 1994 World Cup. The South American team is the most successful in the 30 years since the ranking was established.
Brazil has ranked number one 12 times, including the longest run of nearly seven years. Spain is another successful member association, having been the ranked leader six times. France was No.1 after 16 years when FIFA updated the ranking system. The Blues held the number one spot with another team, Belgium, for the first time. In the latest team rankings, Brazil sits at the top.
How Are FIFA Rankings Calculated?
Since the introduction of the men's world ranking, the system has seen a few changes to address criticisms. Two Swiss lecturers came up with the very first rating system, which was the simplest. Applied between 1992 and 1996, the calculation method gave points according to the match result for games between national A (senior) teams. It also considered multiplying factors for different competitions and regional performance.
From 1999 to 2006, FIFA changed a few elements to eliminate some of the shortcomings of the previous system. It didn't only consider a game's outcome but its importance as well. The system scaled the ranking points by a factor of ten. It also considered the margin of victory and regional strength. Match losers earned points too.
FIFA simplified the calculation formula after the 2006 World Cup. It revised certain attributes, including a game's importance. Home and away advantage stopped contributing to a team's rating. The governing body also revised the evaluation period from eight to four years.
Current Calculation Method
After the 2018 World Cup, the FIFA council decided to overhaul the ranking system. It settled on a new formula based on the Elo rating system, popularly used in chess and other sports. The decision came after two years of reviews. With the latest system, men's national teams earn points for games played. Whereas the previous method calculated the average score, the current one adds or subtracts points from a team's existing total. The formula works under the assumption that higher-ranked teams perform better against lower-ranking opponents. Therefore, the strength of the opponent determines if the points awarded are subtracted or added. A simple version of the formula is P = Pbefore + I (W - We) where;
- Pbefore are the points before the match
- I is the match importance coefficient
- W is the game result
- We is the expected match outcome
One advantage of the new formula is that it eliminates the weighting problems of the previous system. It doesn't encourage teams to play fewer friendlies. The rating differentiates friendly games occurring within the international match calendar and those that don't.
The system did away with confederation weighting, which was unfair to teams outside Europe and South America.
Host nations that don't play qualification matches don't have to worry about falling in the rankings as before.
Ranking Schedule - When are Rankings Released?
FIFA follows the international window to publish world rankings. In 2022, the organization has three more scheduled releases - August 25, October 6, and December 22. Since the adaptation of the Elo rating system, the list is updated after each game. For this reason, FIFA doesn't have to pick an exact date to calculate points. Occasionally, FIFA has special releases for certain confederations for seeding purposes.
FIFA member associations fall into six regional confederations. These confederations have their rankings, which are used in seeding during continental competitions. Here are the main regional bodies.
Confederación Sudamericana de Fútbol (CONMEBOL)
Most South American teams, except French Guiana, Suriname, and Guyana, are part of CONMEBOL. The South American Football Confederation oversees soccer on the continent and is the oldest regional confederation. Founded in 1916, it currently has 10 member associations, making it the smallest of the six. Three CONMEBOL national teams have nine World Cup titles - Brazil five, Argentina two, and Uruguay two. Thus, the confederation is considered one of the strongest, with CONMEBOL World Cup qualifiers described as the toughest.
The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA)
Europe boasts the most popular FIFA confederation, with UEFA tournaments drawing the largest audiences. The Union of European Football Associations governs soccer in Europe, Asia, Israel, and some Eurasian countries. It comprises 55 national associations, although Russia is currently suspended from all competitions. UEFA member associations have won 12 World Cups - Germany four, Italy four, France two, England one, and Spain one. The confederation is the strongest, with most of its associations taking the top spots in the FIFA World Ranking.
The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF)
Countries in North America are under CONCACAF's jurisdiction. The Confederation of North, Central America, and Caribbean Association Football was founded in 1961 and is made up of 44 members. No team from the region has ever won the World Cup, with Mexico being the only CONCACAF association to reach the quarter-finals. Mexico and the USA are the biggest teams in the confederation, winning all but one Gold Cup since the tournament was established. Placed 12th in the latest FIFA rankings men index, Mexico is the top team in the CONCACAF ranking.
Confederation of African Football (CAF)
Founded in 1957, the Confederation of African Football is the biggest of the six regional confederations with 55 members. CAF oversees national and club continental competitions. Starting in 2026, FIFA will give CAF nine spots in the World Cup. It could secure a 10th by having six teams participate in intercontinental playoffs. CAF member associations have never won the World Cup. 13 countries from the continent have played in the global tournament. Senegal, which is in position 18 in the FIFA world ranking, is the CAF rank leader.
Asian Football Confederation (AFC)
The Asian Football Confederation is the authority overseeing association football in Asia and Oceania. Most member associations are from Asia. In 2006, Australia left the OFC to join the AFC. Formed in 1954, the AFC manages various regional competitions, including the Asian Cup. No member association from the confederation has a World Cup. Iran is No. 1 in the latest AFC ranking and position 23 in the FIFA ranking.
Oceania Football Confederation (OFC)
The Oceania Football Confederation is currently made up of eleven member associations and three associate members, making it the smallest of the six confederations in FIFA. It is tasked with developing and organizing soccer across the South Pacific
The confederation mostly consists of island nations where soccer is not very popular. Additionally, it is the only international football association to have not won even one international title.
How Does the FIFA World Ranking Affect the World Cup
FIFA international rankings have a bearing on how the World Cup goes because it determines who plays who. Soccer's premier governing body sometimes includes rankings in its seeding criteria for qualifying matches. So, a team's standing influences its choice of opponents. Stronger teams drawing against weaker sides have an advantage. On the betting scene, sportsbooks and oddsmakers use rankings to determine prices. High-ranking countries are viewed as favorites.
FIFA Team Awards
While FIFA was revising its ranking system, it made the decision to introduce two main awards to recognize the efforts of its member nations. The awards were introduced one year after the publishing of the first rankings. FIFA uses the men's ranking to determine which countries should receive the awards. Although they are not as popular as the FIFA Best Awards, the team awards are just as prestigious. See below for more information:
Team of the Year
The Team of the Year (TOTY) is the member association that takes first place in the most recent FIFA World Rankings. FIFA uses the December edition to choose a winner. 2000 and 2001 were an exception as the governing body used a different calculation method. It awarded TOTY to the association with the highest average score collected from their best seven games of the year ending December 31. Belgium was named TOTY in 2021, bringing its consecutive wins to five. Brazil has the most consecutive awards at seven. Spain has six consecutive wins. Three other teams have won the award - Germany, France, and Argentina.
Best Mover of the Year
FIFA awards Mover of the Year to the nation with the biggest progress during the year. Moving up the table is not the only determinant of the best mover. FIFA factors in other elements. For one, it considers a team's current standing because higher-ranking teams have a harder time moving up the list than lower-ranking countries. From 1993 to 2006, the formula multiplied the score at year-end by the number of points collected during the year to get an index. The highest one won.
Since 2007, the winner has been determined by comparing the difference between end-of-year ranking points and the score 12 months earlier. FIFA presented the Mover of the Year award to the winning team's coach. However, the governing body scrapped the award as an official part of the ceremony. Nonetheless, the Best Movers remain part of the FIFA rankings men list. Colombia was the first Mover of the Year.
FAQ on FIFA Men's World Ranking
Now you know how FIFA ranks the men's teams of its member associations. Find out more about the process and its purpose in the following section.
What is the Point of FIFA Rankings?
FIFA employs its rankings when comparing national A-teams. The number of points a team gathers over a certain period speaks to its capabilities. Seeding for international and continental playoffs is sometimes based on these rankings. The number one team and the most improved get to walk away with the two FIFA team awards. For players seeking to move to England, these rankings are crucial because they are part of the criteria the FA employs to evaluate an applicant's eligibility.
When Does FIFA Update Its Men's Rankings?
Soccer's world governing body releases rankings according to scheduled international windows. The next ranking will be published on October 6. Calculations are, however, conducted on a game-by-game structure, as opposed to waiting for a specified date.
How Often are FIFA Rankings Updated On Oddspedia?
As soon as FIFA releases the rankings, you can expect them to be available on Oddspedia. The odds comparator ensures bettors access accurate and up-to-date information, which is why it offers details in real-time.
Where Are the USA In The Current FIFA Men’s World Rankings?
Collecting 1635.01 ranking points in the latest rating, the USMNT is in position 14 as of June 23. It added 1.29 points since the last calculation to move up one place on the list.
How Does FIFA Rank The Teams?
As of 2018, FIFA revised its ranking system to rate teams based on the games played. Every match is an opportunity to collect points, which vary depending on the competition and opponents. Wins against stronger opponents are more valuable than against weaker teams. The match result determines the points awarded. These points are then added or subtracted from the previous score. A team's point total is rounded off to two decimal places. If two teams have the same points, the next member association is ranked in the immediate position.
Where Can I Find The Current FIFA World Rankings?
The official FIFA page publishes the men's rankings as soon as they are calculated. You can use the filter to find previous rankings according to the date of release. Oddspedia is another resource that provides the latest rankings.
Who Is the World’s No.1 Ranked Men's Soccer Team?
The rankings released on June 23 put Brazil in the top spot with 1837.56 points, continuing its record of holding the number position the most time.
Does The No1 Ranked Team Generally Win The World Cup?
Even though FIFA rankings show where a team stands among other member associations, it doesn't forecast future performance. Therefore, the top-ranked country doesn't mean the same outcome at the World Cup. However, the No. 1 team is one of the favorites at sportsbooks because it has better chances than most opponents.
Who Is The Lowest Ranked FIFA Men's Team?
The most recent FIFA World Rankings have San Marino in last place with 763.82 points. It held the same position in the previous rating.
Does the USA Women's Team Have a Higher FIFA Ranking than the Men?
Yes, it does. In the latest FIFA Women's World Ranking, the USA holds the top position. It was also the best-ranked women's team in the previous ranking. The USMNT is No. 15 in the most recent rankings.