2018 Russia qualifying competitions

World Cup 2026, Euro 2028, etc.
Vickzq
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Post by Vickzq »

So this is the world cup history of 'direct (and ONLY direct) duels CONMEBOL vs. UEFA' - with split northern vs. southern hemisphere (of world cup hosts):

Southern Hemisphere (bra,chi,mex,arg,mex,south africa,bra) vs. UEFA
CONMEBOL 46 victories, 18 draws, 27 defeats

Northern Hemisphere (ita,fra,sui,swe,eng,ger,esp,ita,usa,fra,kor,ger) vs. UEFA
CONMEBOL 46 victories , 23 draws, 52 defeats

So does this now show how much stronger the CONMEBOL teams are compared to the UEFA teams on average? Actually, NO. Why? Because...

Southern Hemisphere 'world cups' - wins & draws per team:
Brazil 17 wins, 5 draws
Argentina 14 wins, 2 draws
Uruguay 5 wins, 5 draws
Chile 6 wins -----
Peru 2 wins, 1 draw
Paraguay 1 win, 3 draws
Colombia 1 win, 1 draw
Ecuador ----- 1 draw

It's a remarkable 'home strength' shown by Brazil, Argentina (Uruguay and Chile)... Peru, Paraguay, Colombia and Ecuador look similar to quite a few 'second row' european sides...

Germany 7 wins, 1 draw
Italy 2 wins, 3 draws
France 1 win, 2 draws
Holland 4 wins, 1 draw
Switzerland 1 win, 1 draw
Sweden 1 win, 2 draws
Spain 3 wins, 2 draws
England 3 wins, -----
Denmark 1 win, -----
Portugal ----- , 1 draw
Yugoslavia 2 wins, -----
USSR 1 win, 1 draw
Scotland ----- , 1 draw
Belgium ----- , 1 draw
Poland 1 win -----
Hungary ----- , 1 draw
Czechoslovakia ----- , 1 draw

The exact same for the Northern Hemisphere should illustrate what I am up to...

Brazil 26 wins, 5 draws
Argentina 11 wins, 6 draws
Uruguay 4 wins, 4 draws
Chile -----, 3 draws
Peru -----, 1 draw
Paraguay 2 wins, 3 draws
Colombia 1 win, 1 draw
Ecuador 2 wins, -----
Bolivia ----- , -----

37 (!!!) of the 46 victories in duels with UEFA teams the south americans achieved are attributed to Brazil and Argentina - sensational performance... but it hardly tells much about the strenght of everybody else from CONMEBOL (except Uruguay).

Germany 9 wins, 2 draws
Italy 6 wins, 3 draws
France 4 wins, 1 draw
Holland 4 wins, 1 draw
Norway 1 win, -----
Sweden 3 wins, 2 draws
Spain 3 wins, 2 draws
England 4 wins, 2 draws
Denmark 1 win, -----
Portugal 1 win, -----
Yugoslavia 1 win, 3 draws
USSR 1 win, -----
Scotland ----- , 1 draw
Belgium 2 wins, -----
Poland 3 wins, -----
Hungary 3 wins, -----
Czechoslovakia 1 win, -----
Romania 2 wins, 1 draw
Austria 2 wins, 1 draw
Bulgaria 1 win, 2 draws
GDR ----- , 2 draws

Definitely south americans over-perform at home ... also compared to european teams - but that's actually only true for Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Chile.
When it comes to overall performance in duels with UEFA teams, it's Brazil that is absolutely sensational... Argentina is very strong, too. Uruguay shows quality... but there is no real indication why the rest of CONMEBOL should be stronger than 'second row' european teams.

I didn't find evidence to change my opinion. I consider Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay as the powerhouses of south america (everybody does)... and Brazil is even more impressive than many would imagine... but there is no visible proof why the overall 10 of CONMEBOL would be so fantastic compared to everybody else (on average).
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Vickzq
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Post by Vickzq »

Ed wrote:Another simple method to compare the confederation strengths is to look at the confederation weighting used in the FIFA-ranking. That weighting is determined over all inter-confederational matches at the last 3 world cups. A confederation receives 1 point for a won match and a half point for each drawn match. Intra-confederational matches do not count.
...
The problem here is... very few top teams can completely 'overshadow' everything else. Nobody questions the strength of Brazil or Argentina... Uruguay is a strong team, too.
But especially in south america there is this "we are from CONMEBOL, and that's the hardest anyway" mentality... while large 'proportions of the cake' are simply brazilian, argentinian or uruguayan achievements.

To be honest - there is an arrogance among european teams for being part of UEFA, too.
"Help a man when he is in trouble... and he will remember you... the day he is in trouble again."
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Sao
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Post by Sao »

Ed wrote:Another simple method to compare the confederation strengths is to look at the confederation weighting used in the FIFA-ranking. That weighting is determined over all inter-confederational matches at the last 3 world cups. A confederation receives 1 point for a won match and a half point for each drawn match. Intra-confederational matches do not count.
The average number of points per interconfederational match (over the world cups of 2014, 2010 and 2006):
CONMEBOL 0,66
UEFA 0,65
CONCACAF 0,34
CAF 0,29
AFC 0,24
OFC 0,17

With a somewhat complex formula (take the fourth root of the ratio of a confederations average and the maximum average i.e. 0,66) and applying a minimum-threshold of 0,85, this leads to the well known confederation weights for the FIFA-ranking:
CONMEBOL 1,0000 => 1,00
UEFA 0,9947 => 0,99
CONCACAF 0,8468 => 0,85
CAF 0,8131 => 0,85
AFC 0,7786 => 0,85
OFC 0,7078 => 0,85
This is the very first time UEFA's confederation weight dropped below the maximum, i.e. to 0.99 instead of 1.00. IIRC UEFA teams added more points to the confederation multiplier in 2002 than in 2006. Yet in 2006 UEFA had 6 quarterfinalists and from the QFs onwards it was exclusively the European teams advancing. As there were so many UEFA v. UEFA ties no points were gained from doing very well. Conmebol's confederation weight did drop below the maximum after 2006, i.e. 0.98 instead of 1.00. I'd argue that bonus points should have been added for advancing from the group and reaching the latter stages (cfr. UEFA's country coefficient for club competitions). To "punish" UEFA teams while so many had deep runs in 2006 is very peculiar.

Should UEFA's confederation weight drop after Russia if UEFA provides 6, 7 or even all quarterfinalists in 2018? Conversely, 2006 could get replaced by a weaker performance in 2018 where "only" 4 quarterfinalists come from UEFA and yet more points are added to the confederation multiplier (like in 2002). Again, that's very peculiar.
Sao
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Post by Sao »

The strength of Conmebol teams is often overstated. For me, unsubstantiated claims carry no weight. When you actually go look you can't but acknowledge the underwhelming track records of most teams in Conmebol.

Just to illustrate, the last time any Conmebol team not named Brazil or Argentina eliminated a UEFA team in the KO stages was about 50 years ago (when Uruguay knocked out the Soviet Union). In the table below you can have a look at the finishes of the other 8 Conmebol teams after the last time one of them beat the Soviet Union ages ago, i.e. only one 4th place finish and two QFs. The only wins in the KO stages were against Uruguay, S.Korea, Ghana (Suarez handball + decided by pens) and Japan (also went to pens). That's just 4 games against humble opposition in almost half a century.

Image

You'd expect a much higher calibre yet these 8 teams combined didn't do any better than what quite a few UEFA teams achieved on their own. You also don't have to go back half a century to find the most recent elimination of a Conmebol side by a UEFA one not named Germany or Italy. UEFA teams even beat the likes of Brazil (instead of the Soviet Union). I'd add a table with the performances of UEFA teams but it's too large so I'll focus on the last 5 WCs instead (= since expansion to 32 teams):

- 4 out of 5 titles were won by 4 different Uefa sides (including Spain's and France's very first titles)
- 7 out of 10 places in the finals were taken by Uefa sides (5 of those 7 were different Uefa sides)
- 14 out of 20 semifinalists (8 different Uefa sides), go back 1 more WC and you can add Sweden + Bulgaria, go back another WC = add a different Uefa semifinalist, and so on, and so on.

All the non-UEFA teams put together are then left with just the 1 title, Brazil in 2002 of course, and only 3 out of 10 finishes in the top two. 2 of those 3 were Brazil, again, and only 1 underwhelming run by Argentina. To add a 3rd (unique) finalist from outside UEFA you have to go back to caveman times (UEFA's 9 finalists are all more recent). Also, only 6 out of 20 SF places and guess who had 3 out of the 6 (Brazil as always). With a handball Suarez helped Uruguay to 1 of those SF spots and S.Korea, as hosts, needed quite a few decisions in their favour to go on an unusual deep run.
Vickzq
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Post by Vickzq »

Sao wrote: ... To "punish" UEFA teams while so many had deep runs in 2006 is very peculiar.
...
Should UEFA's confederation weight drop after Russia if UEFA provides 6, 7 or even all quarterfinalists in 2018? Conversely, 2006 could get replaced by a weaker performance in 2018 where "only" 4 quarterfinalists come from UEFA and yet more points are added to the confederation multiplier (like in 2002). Again, that's very peculiar.
You got some interesting thinking there - thanks.
The 'federation-coefficient' topic is 'peculiar' per se, as it is highly questionable how AFC (with EVERY Team finish bottom-last during 2014 WC) should get the very same value as OFC or CAF, both doing somewhat or considerably better than asian teams (and that's even coming from a usual 'fan' of asian teams like Japan, South Korea or China).

Sensational 92 duels won by CONMEBOL teams against UEFA teams... in group or knock-out stage overall, over all world cups until 2014. But as you said, it overstates the south american 'all team' power considerably. 43 (!!!) of the 92 duels won by Brazil (they certainly deserve their fame, hands down), making them resposible for almost 50% of all south american victories vs. europeans. Another 25 wins achieved by Argentina (they deserve their fame, too). 9 wins by Uruguay and 6 by Chile sum up to not less than 83 victories for CONMEBOL teams.
All other south americans managed to win (all together over all world cups) 9 duels vs. UEFA teams. Teams like Denkmark, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland and Norway (not the most prominent european world cup sides) did together better than this vs. CONMEBOL teams.

If somebody brings up that "what if only the 10 best europeans had to qualify with home and away games for world cup, and with 4 direct spots and 1 playoff spot"... the answer might be like this:
"In direct duels CONMEBOL vs. UEFA, Denmark, Poland, Sweden, Switzerland and Norway were stronger together than Peru, Paraguay, Colombia, Ecuador and Bolivia (and the never ever qualified Venezuela)."
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Lorric
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Post by Lorric »

Imo things have changed. In the past I would have seen anyone not called Brazil or Argentina as little threat to England or many of the European sides. And England handled any such teams they came up against, with victories over Colombia in 98, Ecuador in 02 and Paraguay in 06. If you're looking at results beyond two World Cups ago, SA teams have an entirely different set of players playing for them now. SA teams have risen up. Power can shift quickly in international football.

I remember in 2006 how Australia defeated Uruguay in the playoff, England and Sweden eliminated Paraguay in the group stage, and Ecuador got through, but it was seen as a pretty big upset that they went through over Poland. But things have changed.
Vickzq
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Post by Vickzq »

Lorric wrote:Imo things have changed. In the past I would have seen anyone not called Brazil or Argentina as little threat to England or many of the European sides. And England handled any such teams they came up against, with victories over Colombia in 98, Ecuador in 02 and Paraguay in 06. If you're looking at results beyond two World Cups ago, SA teams have an entirely different set of players playing for them now. SA teams have risen up. Power can shift quickly in international football.

I remember in 2006 how Australia defeated Uruguay in the playoff, England and Sweden eliminated Paraguay in the group stage, and Ecuador got through, but it was seen as a pretty big upset that they went through over Poland. But things have changed.
Isn't the thing that really changed, that overall ALL reasonable teams improved in last decades? The 'second row' european teams gained much quality and narrowed the gap to the stronger sides, too.
Behind Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay and Chile... no south american team has won more than 3 games vs. UEFA teams at world cups (and I mean ALL world cup appearances put together) so far. In fact, only Paraguay got 3 wins, Peru, Ecuador AND Colombia have 2 wins.

The worldwide competition got stronger - it was visible during the first KO-round of 2014 world cup... when almost every match went to (at least) overtime.
England should know that ... remembering matches vs. Croatia or Iceland... or Costa Rica.
"Help a man when he is in trouble... and he will remember you... the day he is in trouble again."
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Sao
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Post by Sao »

Did FIFA shoot themselves in the foot by demanding their rankings must be used for the European WCQs? With Italy and Holland FIFA's bottomline took a massive hit as they lost two of the biggest money-spinners from Europe.

Before the "Week of Football" FAs sat down together and agreed on a schedule for the qualifiers without much help from FIFA, unless I'm mistaken, while after the introduction of the "Week of Football" with the help of UEFA. FIFA should have trusted UEFA (and its members) with the organization of the qualifiers, including seeding. Yet since the 2010 World Cup Preliminary Draw FIFA's rankings had to be used despite a counterproposal to use UEFA's NT coefficient ranking. Now, for the 2018 World Cup Preliminary Draw, had UEFA's Oct. 2015 NT coefficient ranking been used instead teams like Italy and France would have been awarded top seed status while Wales and Romania would have been drawn from lower pots. Italy ending up in Spain's group and France in Holland's group didn't turn out well for FIFA's bottomline. OTOH Serbia and Poland qualified directly for the World Cup while their group's top-seeded team respectively came in 3rd and 4th.
Vickzq
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Post by Vickzq »

Sao wrote:...Yet since the 2010 World Cup Preliminary Draw FIFA's rankings had to be used despite a counterproposal to use UEFA's NT coefficient ranking. Now, for the 2018 World Cup Preliminary Draw, had UEFA's Oct. 2015 NT coefficient ranking been used instead teams like Italy and France would have been awarded top seed status while Wales and Romania would have been drawn from lower pots. Italy ending up in Spain's group and France in Holland's group didn't turn out well for FIFA's bottomline. OTOH Serbia and Poland qualified directly for the World Cup while their group's top-seeded team respectively came in 3rd and 4th.
It's not like Italy or Holland hadn't their own chances to do it...
The whole point is, if FIFA wasn't convinced that their calculation method was good, they wouldn't use it. And if they are convinced it is good, then they can also use it for qualifiers.
UEFA would still have Holland and Italy better ranked compared to teams like Poland... because for UEFA, the most recent results have less impact compared to previous years, while for FIFA, very good recent results can catapult a team ahead of many others.

We will never find an agreement in this forum about what would be the most adequate of all rankings... FIFA got advantages (and some will agree most recent results matter more), UEFA got some advantages (but now most friendlies will be replaced anyways)... ELO got some advantages... but all of these rankings got weak points and some teams at positions most people would disagree.

In the context of 'maximize the money they make at world cup', yes... FIFA made an error :lol:
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fillow
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Post by fillow »

Yeah, it's not like we've ever seen two top teams qualifying from the same group in the past... England+Italy at WC98, Germany+England at WC02, Italy+France at Euro 08, Spain+France at WC14... no, it never happened.
Sao
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Post by Sao »

Vickzq wrote:The whole point is, if FIFA wasn't convinced that their calculation method was good, they wouldn't use it. And if they are convinced it is good, then they can also use it for qualifiers.
http://www.insideworldfootball.com/2017 ... ngs-gamed/

FIFA comes across a bit insecure about their rankings while UEFA and its members weren't the only ones that had reservations about using FIFA's rankings for seeding the qualifiers. Besides you could argue, as the qualifiers are an intra-confederation affair, let the confederations also take care of seeding teams within their own confederation (and for interconfederation affairs, then it makes more sense to go with interconfederation rankings). I'd suggest to make the use of FIFA's rankings optional. E.g. if UEFA was convinced that their Oct. 2015 NT coefficient ranking was the better option UEFA should have been allowed that liberty. UEFA and its members are more than capable to take care of the qualifiers themselves and FIFA's ranking isn't really that helpful (quite the contrary). The burden of proof rests on those that want to use (FIFA's) world rankings for qualifiers where European teams only face each other. Conversely, I wouldn't argue using (UEFA's) European rankings for interconfederation affairs (I'd still object to poor world rankings though).
Vickzq wrote:UEFA would still have Holland and Italy better ranked compared to teams like Poland... because for UEFA, the most recent results have less impact compared to previous years, while for FIFA, very good recent results can catapult a team ahead of many others.
Very good recent results aren't the only way to catapult a team ahead of many others but first another point of criticism against FIFA's rankings: the 2018 World Cup Preliminary Draw was based on the rankings of July 2015. That's an arbitrary date while UEFA's Oct. 2015 NT coefficient ranking at least comes at the end of the qualifiers and includes more recent results (i.e. Sep.-Oct.2015).

At the time of FIFA's Preliminary Draw Holland were ranked 3rd for the European qualifiers (IIRC their WC2014 3rd place play-off game was even in a higher yielding timeframe compared to other WC2014 matches) while they would have been ranked lower, 7th, on UEFA's Oct. 2015 NT coefficient ranking. Italy did shoot themselves in the foot. They would have been in pot 1, instead of Croatia, had they not played the friendly against Portugal or had they won the tie. Avoiding friendlies, the risk of needing a result in those games, can catapult a team ahead of many others as well. It didn't turn out that great for Italy (and FIFA's bottomline). You snooze, you lose I guess. Also, Poland were drawn from pot 3 during FIFA's Preliminary Draw as opposed to their pot 2 spot according to UEFA's Oct. 2015 NT coefficient ranking. Currently, on UEFA's 2019 NT coefficient ranking, Poland (8th) are ranked higher than Italy (9th) and Holland (20th). FIFA's most recent ranking OTOH still has France ranked lower than Poland.

About the treatment of hosts on both rankings: France had taken hits to their FIFA ranking by hosting the EUROs and already were in pot 2 during the Preliminary Draw (making qualification harder for Holland and Sweden; the latter having to face Italy in the play-offs). Pot 2 wasn't a reflection of France's (+/- Italy's) actual strength and it also wasn't the case for the top seed of the group Poland were drawn into (a top seed that ended up 4th behind Montenegro). How did the top seed of the WCQ group that Poland won manage to get that status? Also, in the group that Serbia won: Wales played 0 friendlies in the year before the Preliminary Draw and ended up in pot 1. It's a big mess. On UEFA's Oct. 2015 NT coefficient ranking France would have received top seed status while Poland/Ukraine would have been pot 2 seeds instead of pot 3.
Vickzq wrote:It's not like Italy or Holland hadn't their own chances to do it...

We will never find an agreement in this forum about what would be the most adequate of all rankings... FIFA got advantages (and some will agree most recent results matter more), UEFA got some advantages (but now most friendlies will be replaced anyways)... ELO got some advantages... but all of these rankings got weak points and some teams at positions most people would disagree.

In the context of 'maximize the money they make at world cup', yes... FIFA made an error :lol:
fillow wrote:Yeah, it's not like we've ever seen two top teams qualifying from the same group in the past... England+Italy at WC98, Germany+England at WC02, Italy+France at Euro 08, Spain+France at WC14... no, it never happened.
I was interested in what would have been used instead of FIFA's rankings. UEFA's Oct. 2015 NT coefficient ranking is the most plausible alternative and imho it was at least the lesser of two evils, especially because of the influence of friendlies.

"Italy or Holland had their own chances to do it..." "two top teams qualifying from the same group..." that also applies when UEFA's NT coefficient rankings are used instead of FIFA's rankings. I'd hazard a guess that most, if not all of us view a ranking where teams like Italy and France would have been awarded top seed status while Wales and Romania would have been drawn from lower pots to be a better reflection of comparative strengths.

For the final draw as well you could again use Poland as an example. Had Poland scheduled friendlies on dates that were available to them in the highest yielding timeframe (with the risk of suffering losses on the two dates they didn't play) and had they indeed lost those two friendlies is it correct that you can deduct 158 points from their total (simply by changing the average from 8 to 10 games with 0 points for the extra 2 friendlies; Poland gained 789.59 points from 7 WCQs + 1 friendly, a draw with Slovenia in Nov.2016)? Poland would then have 1165 total points and be ranked 10th, below Spain and Chile, on the all important October rankings.

In the other scenarios, where Poland don't lose both friendlies, they could also fall short of Spain's 1218 total points (with top seed status being awarded to Spain instead of Poland). They'd need to collect over 530.28 points in the 2 friendlies in order to have more total points than Spain. By simply avoiding to play those 2 games Poland (1323 total points) ended up with a massive points lead over the likes of Chile (1173), Spain (1218) and France (1226). So to grab top seed status Poland, deliberately or not, sacrificed match practice and the revenue from 2 friendlies. In the end Poland instead of Spain as top seeds looks very odd. France came close to missing out on pot 1 as well in the October rankings. Peru, Switzerland, etc. were chasing down top seed status but France were lucky enough to make the bubble.
Vickzq
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Post by Vickzq »

Sao wrote:...The burden of proof rests on those that want to use (FIFA's) world rankings for qualifiers where European teams only face each other. ...
The fact that it's a continental qualifier doesn't support UEFA rankings more than the fact that it's the tournament involving the whole world does support the use of FIFA rankings. It's merely a question of point of view.
"The burden of proof rests..." argument is what I usually dismiss as lazyness or lack of own arguments 'punch line'. But that is my general remark to this statement and has nothing to do with you specifically. Good systems have reasonable arguments to back them up.

I know the disadvantages of the FIFA ranking. But I do - honestly - not care that much if some people dislike having Poland seeded. It's a team deserving it. Every ranking has some disadvantages, and if people might disagree for +/- very few positions, well... that's how it goes.
Although I know that Peru got good results during south american championships in recent years, THAT'S the team I see largely benefitting from flaws in the FIFA ranking due to this overweight of recent results. But I also saw Peru beating Brazil during these championships (with Chile winning) using a "handball" - and I really meaning punching the ball into the net using the hand.
No matter what - Holland had its possibilities in group. Italy had the benefit of being seeded in playoffs. Who can guarantee that Italy would finish first instead of second, just because there would be no Spain? Albania as 3rd ranked is certainly not the worst they got - what if they were topseed and got Iceland or Denmark into the same group? Or for that matter, Sweden from pot #3? That had nothing to do with Italy on #1 or #2, they could still get Sweden in the same group.

The issue with friendlies will be almost eliminated soon. We know the Nations League is coming...
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Sao
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Post by Sao »

Vickzq wrote:The fact that it's a continental qualifier doesn't support UEFA rankings more than the fact that it's the tournament involving the whole world does support the use of FIFA rankings. It's merely a question of point of view.
"The burden of proof rests..." argument is what I usually dismiss as lazyness or lack of own arguments 'punch line'. But that is my general remark to this statement and has nothing to do with you specifically. Good systems have reasonable arguments to back them up.

I know the disadvantages of the FIFA ranking. But I do - honestly - not care that much if some people dislike having Poland seeded. It's a team deserving it. Every ranking has some disadvantages, and if people might disagree for +/- very few positions, well... that's how it goes.
Although I know that Peru got good results during south american championships in recent years, THAT'S the team I see largely benefitting from flaws in the FIFA ranking due to this overweight of recent results. But I also saw Peru beating Brazil during these championships (with Chile winning) using a "handball" - and I really meaning punching the ball into the net using the hand.
No matter what - Holland had its possibilities in group. Italy had the benefit of being seeded in playoffs. Who can guarantee that Italy would finish first instead of second, just because there would be no Spain? Albania as 3rd ranked is certainly not the worst they got - what if they were topseed and got Iceland or Denmark into the same group? Or for that matter, Sweden from pot #3? That had nothing to do with Italy on #1 or #2, they could still get Sweden in the same group.

The issue with friendlies will be almost eliminated soon. We know the Nations League is coming...
I won't pretend I was privy to the decision yet it's fair enough to say the introduction of the Coca Cola rankings (to European qualifying) was less about a good system grounded on reasonable arguments and it was more about offering the sponsor a bit of extra visibility in highly lucrative media markets. Without a trace of cynicism I'm saying: "it was for the greed".

Affirmanti incumbit probatio. The burden does rest on those that have to prove that FIFA's rankings were better than UEFA's. Otherwise they've no claim, at all, let alone can be dismissed for lazyness. Did FIFA even attempt to argue so? I don't recall FIFA making their case or convincing the members with reasoning and evidence, considering the best interests of all FAs. Quite the contrary. FIFA never produced evidence that the new system was superior. IIRC the members moaned about it and a ranking from the early nineties was only implemented decades later (with regards to the European qualifiers for WC2010). Besides FIFA's case wouldn't hold up even if had they made the effort, quod erat demonstrandum (e.g. Romania and Wales as top seeds instead of Italy and France). It's a point you don't refute and, unless you say otherwise, agree with knowing the flaws of FIFA's ranking (even though it does not bother you too much). More importantly, FIFA themselves have accepted that their ranking needs to be reviewed. A bit late as they're only now responding to the criticism. We'll have to wait and see if they're up to the task and the flaws will be addressed.

Also, are FIFA's rankings more apt for European qualifiers? The best possible solution that has to make inter-confederation considerations won't be as apt as the one specialized for the home confederation, a ranking tailor-made for intra-confederation affairs (without compromises to compare teams that aren't involved). It's not a question of point of view but of aptness.

From time to time I like to speculate as well. Still we don't know what the situation will be after FIFA's review of the rankings or how the Nations League will be dealt with. However I'm betting there will be issues with any outcome but that's for another thread. ITT I'm looking back at the (European) qualifiers for Russia and, again, I was interested in what would have been used for seeding purposes instead of FIFA's July 2015 ranking, i.e. UEFA's October 2015 NT coefficient ranking, the most plausible alternative and imho the lesser of two evils. Feel free to speculate about what could have been. Yet what we can actually have a look at wasn't the result of seeding based on UEFA's October 2015 NT coefficient ranking but was based on FIFA's July 2015 ranking. For what didn't happen, seeding based on UEFA's ranking, your imagination is as valid as mine. Bring up specific games from S.America, even missed calls, and we would be here speculating about everything and nothing until the cows come home (BTW Argentina needed help from the ref in their game against Chile as well). Those sort of discussions are a fruitless endeavour.

TL;DR as far as I'm concerned there were two options for the (European) qualifiers and seeding based on FIFA's July 2015 ranking wasn't exactly the right one.

A few words to end with about Poland deserving top seed status (in the final draw): so Spain, who just missed out and are the team to avoid from pot 2, didn't deserve it? Especially after Poland taking a massive lead in the rankings by simply avoiding friendlies? That's a bit much, even among those sleeping in Poland pyjama's there will be serious doubt about how they measure up against Spain. France too came close to becoming an undeserving side and there were more scenarios. Pot 2 could have been a great pot to be "demoted" to. Regardless, Poland only served as an example. I agree with you on Peru. In all pots you'll find teams that are out of place. It's a fait accompli now. Just having a look back at qualification (which was more of a mess than it should have been). Now let's see who gets Spain. Maybe we'll witness poetic justice and they're drawn into Poland's group.
Vickzq
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Post by Vickzq »

Sao wrote: I won't pretend I was privy to the decision yet it's fair enough to say the introduction of the Coca Cola rankings (to European qualifying) was less about a good system grounded on reasonable arguments and it was more about offering the sponsor a bit of extra visibility in highly lucrative media markets. Without a trace of cynicism I'm saying: "it was for the greed".
I don't expect anybody expecting anything different from FIFA.
Sao wrote: Affirmanti incumbit probatio. The burden does rest on those that have to prove that FIFA's rankings were better than UEFA's. Otherwise they've no claim, at all, let alone can be dismissed for lazyness. Did FIFA even attempt to argue so? I don't recall FIFA making their case or convincing the members with reasoning and evidence, considering the best interests of all FAs.
I can tell you what their statement will be like, if somebody asks them. It will go similar to this: "Using the FIFA rankings is like treating all confederations the same in context of world cup qualification, avoiding the situation where nations feel handed over a disadvantage or advantage because of usage of 'regional' rankings. Besides this, it largely reduces all the paper work to have EVERY SINGLE federation agreeing individually if they would prefer any regional or the global ranking system. We want to have the 32 best teams in the world at the world cup, therefore the world ranking seems the only legit way to go."

- Oh yes, I know. It's not like the 32 best teams in the world are at the world cup, EVER. But I agree that other federations need to have representation, too... and I don't mind exotic match-ups.
Sao wrote: A few words to end with about Poland deserving top seed status (in the final draw): so Spain, who just missed out and are the team to avoid from pot 2, didn't deserve it? Especially after Poland taking a massive lead in the rankings by simply avoiding friendlies? That's a bit much, even among those sleeping in Poland pyjama's there will be serious doubt about how they measure up against Spain. France too came close to becoming an undeserving side and there were more scenarios. Pot 2 could have been a great pot to be "demoted" to. Regardless, Poland only served as an example. I agree with you on Peru. In all pots you'll find teams that are out of place. It's a fait accompli now. Just having a look back at qualification (which was more of a mess than it should have been). Now let's see who gets Spain. Maybe we'll witness poetic justice and they're drawn into Poland's group.
It's not like I would just disagree with you. But I have a feeling you expect more from a result based ranking system than it can actually provide. Is it fair to influence the ranking with more or less friendlies - not that much. But does it matter if Spain is considered stronger than Poland (I would agree on that, by the way)? No, I don't think so.
The FIFA ranking is a point based system, not a talent quantifier or 'honoric status' paper. We will have crap like that already in the UEFA champions league in future years, where former winners will get extra credit points for seedings. As if it would matter if some team won the champions league back in 2000 or something.

FIFA ranking is not necessarily displaying the actual strength - UEFA ranking isn't either. That's something many people either can't understand, or don't like. But that's how it works.
Even the best result based system would have a problem there - if a stronger team would have a couple of surprising weaker results... and a somewhat weaker team would constantly collect wins... they would get surpassed. No matter if many fans wouldn't like it, but the name doesn't matter... reputation neither.

The worst example of a real 'prediction ranking' (and not like UEFA or FIFA) like 'SPI', american soccer power index, looking at where the players play (clubs), how often they play, etc. giving predictions of the 2014 world cup was hilariously wrong.
SPI couldn't predict more than 50% of the teams advancing from group stage - a monkey would do better!
But to be honest, as it is an american system, I also expect them to rank MLS as 'strong league' when evaluating team strength... such bias immediately reduces the value of such method.
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Sao
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Joined: Sun Oct 08, 2017 00:26

Post by Sao »

Based on what I said that feeling is off the mark. You could have come away from my posts feeling: I very much prefer the lesser evil, not perfection but the better tool for the job, the apt one, the better reflection of comparative strengths, UEFA's Oct. 2015 NT coefficient ranking, the most plausible alternative to the one that was actually used for seeding, the better option, where avoiding to play friendlies didn't help the likes of Romania, Wales, ... hosting a major tournament didn't harm France, Poland/Ukraine, ... and so on. If the likes of France and Italy would have to be drawn from lower pots based on UEFA's ranking so be it, there's no favouritism on my part, it just wasn't the case (Poland BTW moved up a pot compared to FIFA's ranking).

Also, would you mind a fully random draw? Would it matter if Germany, Brazil, Spain and France end up in one group while another group might include Panama, Saudi Arabia, South Korea and Tunisia. The World Cup could be terribly unbalanced without the desire for a better reflection of comparative strengths. For the (European) qualifiers there were two options and if it were up to me I'd pick the better one. Apropos, for the final draw of EURO2020 is it expected that UEFA's coefficient ranking will be used or will it also be the NL overall ranking? AFAIK UEFA has been silent.
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