As expected, England have been bumped up to third in the latest FIFA World Rankings, their highest position of all time. This has resulted in the inevitable hand-wringing but it’s really not worth getting wound up about. The World Rankings are based on mathematical truisms with no further interpretation; nobody really thinks England are the third best team in the world. Does the algorithm need work? Probably, but how does one quantify such things? And does it really matter? Really?
The England team’s Facebook page posted yesterday that England have won eight games out of twelve played in the last year, losing only once inside 90 minutes, and it really is as simple as that. In any case, England are simply edging ahead of a pack behind leaders Spain and second-placed Germany, neither of whom are remotely within reach.
England have swapped positions with Uruguay, who move into fourth ahead of Portugal, Italy, Argentina, Netherlands, Croatia and Denmark. Brazil are down to 13th, Russia up to 11th.
There are mixed fortunes as always for England’s FIFA World Cup 2014 qualifying opponents. Ukraine are highest, moving up a place into 45th, but they’re closely followed by non-movers Montenegro (50) and Poland (54). Moldova are up two spots into 137th, while San Marino are joint bottom along with Bhutan, Monserrat and Turks & Caicos Islands. British Virgin Islands are the big movers at the lower end of the rankings.
Republic of Ireland in 26th are the highest of our nearest neighbours, followed by Wales in 37th, Scotland in 46th (up three) and Northern Ireland in 101st.
Great Britain were not placed because they’re fictional.