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masster

FIFA rankings - why they are important and how to beat the system

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Interesting article on how Wales and Romania have played the rankings game to give themselves the best chance of qualifying for the World Cup.
http://thesetpieces.com/world-football/beating-system-wales-planned-seeding-success-calculator/

Now how does this apply to us...

First off, our best players don't play together frequently enough, so I don't think we can forego playing friendlies in order to play the rankings game. But, perhaps we could be strategic in selecting our opponents. Maybe the CSA doesn't have this luxury, but its something to think about.

Then, when we do play friendlies, we have to win. I'm tired of this "its just a friendly" talk that we have heard in the past. We need to win games. We need our best players in these camps.

Lastly, we need to play more high value games in terms of rankings (qualifiers, Gold cup, etc.). We should ask to be included in a qualifying format for the Gold Cup. I know this has been brought up before, but this article really signifies the importance of this.

There used to be a guy that would post on here that would make recommendations on who we should play based on these calculations. Is he still around? Does our victory over Mauritania help us at all?

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Here's the problem. From the Gold Cup in 2017 until WCQ or Gold Cup in 2019, there is 21 months where we wouldn't play a competitive match. And the average of 0 is get this 0, so it can't work for us during that time.

Edited by Blackdude

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19 minutes ago, masster said:

perhaps we could be strategic in selecting our opponents.

We should play St. Kitts & Nevis home and away. They are 6th in CONCACAF right now! World's most overated team at present?

http://www.fifa.com/fifa-world-ranking/ranking-table/men/concacaf.html

Edited by Olympique_de_Marseille
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1 hour ago, Blackdude said:

Here's the problem. From the Gold Cup in 2017 until WCQ or Gold Cup in 2019, there is 21 months where we wouldn't play a competitive match. And the average of 0 is get this 0, so it can't work for us during that time.

Sure, but that doesn't stop us from playing the "ranking game" and arranging matches to maximize our ranking. In fact, maybe a 0 during that period is fine instead of a small number of points that will water down points gained in higher multiplier competitive matches that are still counted.

The other thing that continually hurts our ranking is losing out on competitive fixtures by not playing in Gold Cup qualifying. The CSA should be vigorously working to have that exemption removed.

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Canada needs GCQs. I'd like to see NAFU become an actual thing, get Bermuda and Bahamas out of CFU and into it and maybe support Greenland in coming in (I dunno about that one), with a cup and 2-3 Gold Cup spots.

Edited by matty
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Canada needs to take the Gold Cup ultra seriously. Lots of prep, best available squads, and high expectations.

As disappointed as I was with Floro's WCQ performance, his Gold Cup was another huge reason I was off the band wagon pretty quick. Our next manager has to know a really poor Gold Cup performance could jeopardize their job, not just WCQ (IMO).

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7 hours ago, dsqpr said:

 In fact, maybe a 0 during that period is fine instead of a small number of points that will water down points gained in higher multiplier competitive matches that are still counted.

Sure, if we want to get an all-time low ranking in the FIFA rankings.

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12 hours ago, masster said:

 

There used to be a guy that would post on here that would make recommendations on who we should play based on these calculations. Is he still around? Does our victory over Mauritania help us at all?

That guy was named Edgar.  He wasn't a Canada fan.  He runs the http://www.football-rankings.info/ website.  He offers consulting services to national FA's and I suspect he's the guy Wales and Romania hired.

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3 hours ago, Blackdude said:

Sure, if we want to get an all-time low ranking in the FIFA rankings.

I don't think you understood my point. Here is a contrived example to illustrate:

Three numbers: 12, 3, 12. Avg=9

The 3 represents a win in a low multiplier friendly. Remove that 3 by not playing that match (getting zero points instead) and you have:

Two numbers: 12, 12. Avg=12 and a higher ranking.

This is the "ranking game" - to MAXIMIZE your ranking! And as the article pointed out, NOT playing low multiplier friendlies and getting zero points instead can work to your advantage. Even if the period is quite long (I think the FIFA Rankings cover a 4 year period).

The effect on our team development is another question.

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1 hour ago, dsqpr said:

I don't think you understood my point. Here is a contrived example to illustrate:

Three numbers: 12, 3, 12. Avg=9

The 3 represents a win in a low multiplier friendly. Remove that 3 by not playing that match (getting zero points instead) and you have:

Two numbers: 12, 12. Avg=12 and a higher ranking.

This is the "ranking game" - to MAXIMIZE your ranking! And as the article pointed out, NOT playing low multiplier friendlies and getting zero points instead can work to your advantage. Even if the period is quite long (I think the FIFA Rankings cover a 4 year period).

The effect on our team development is another question.

Ok, I'll use a simple example, because you never understood my original point in the first place. Since we're not playing friendlies between the Two Gold Cups, we would have these numbers from August 2017 to 2018: (Well htere's nothing) Avg=0 If we play friendlies during that time and win some, we would get an average that is greater than zero. And you can go there until the May 2018 to 2019 window where we would have 0 points for the last year and it's usually the year that counts the most. So, we can't really use that to our advantage in the same way. We still need to play some friendlies and get results in them no matter what. We can't do what Wales and Romania have done, because they are guaranteed to play a qualifier every year. We aren't. That's the point that I was trying to make, but you clearly don't understand it.

Here's the bottom line. We don't know when the FIFA rankings are taken. If we take the August 2018 rankings like they used for the last WCQ, we have to look at every step in the way. I'm assuming that FIFA rankings don't change, because if they went to an Elo-style ranking, the point would be moot

So we separate the rankings in 4 years:
 September 2014- August 2015
September 2015- August 2016
September 2016- August 2017
September 2017-August 2018

If we go by the strategy that says that you shouldn't play friendlies, well, the one in September 2017-August 2018 would equal 0 and that's the one year that counts for most points in the World Rankings, so if we would want to follow something close to that, we should actually schedule friendlies that we intend to win during that window. I mean even if we had a good Gold Cup by at least winning 2 games against FIFA members, we would get some good results in the September 2016-August 2017. the question is worth asking, what is our goal? Is our goal to make the Hex or make the World Cup? In both cases, I'd argue that if the US or Mexico missed the Hex, they would be in the same predicament as us knowing that the September 2017-August 2018 would bring them peanuts for ranking points while you have countries like Aruba in May/June 2014 that won 2 games against Turks and Caios and the British Virgin Islands but lost to non-FIFA member French Guiana (Losing against a non-FIFA member doesn't really matter in the FIFA rankings by the way)  and got eliminated from Caribbean Cup qualification and was just 2 spots below us. I'm just looking at the teams that were in front of us and the only teams that were in front of us that one would consider as about on par with us are Trinidad, Jamaica and Haiti. (I didn't put Honduras in there because Honduras had a better team 4 years, so I'm taking more into account that team that made it to a World Cup)

So, let's look at what those 3 teams did in Carribean Cup qualifers in the last year and it didn't even matter because they started their Caribbean Cup qualifiers in September, so it's not the reason why they were better than us, they got results in that period and we didn't. Here's where they got better than us. I'm putting from most recent to oldest results in FIFA points (Took the points with fonderations so 100%/50%/30%/20%)

TRI: 153.05  122.53 70.35 37.94

JAM 121.96 118.27 50.25 82.17

HAI 0 133.22 91.63 37.59

CAN 36.83 92.33 83.52 37.72

What you see here is that 1) Trinidad and Jamaica had a great average in the year leading up to the FIFA rankings and they've only played friendlies in that time. That was about the same time we couldn't win a game so we had a low 36.83 average. And here's how we got there.
Wins: NONE
Draws: Mauritania, Bulgaria, Moldova
Losses: Mauritania Australia, Czech Republic, Slovenia

Jamaica and Trinidad scheduled friendlies with the goal of improving their rankings and they did, but even if we had Trinidad's 153 FIFA points we would still have been in behind those two and we see how great their ranking was the year before and here's how:

Taking into account the September 2012- August 2013

Jamaica actually got nothing in Caribbean  Cup (1 loss against Cuba and 1 draw against Martinique and 1 loss against French Guiana which two non FIFA members so Hex was more important here, but losing to them is like two less matches in rankings and more weight on the Hex matches), but got great Hex Points (not a lot, but they did get a 2-2 draw against Honduras, a 1-1 draw against Costa Rica and a 0-0 draw in Panama)

 

For the other teams I'm taking Gold Cup matches since they count and do have a bigger value

Trinidad did this:

Wins against Antigua and the Dominican Republic, Honduras
Draws Against Haiti, El Salvador
Loss against Cuba, Haiti, Mexico
Inconsequential penalty win against Martinique


Haiti did this:

Wins against Bermuda, Puerto Rico Guyana Grenada, Dominican Republic, Antigua, Trinidad
Draw against Trinidad and Tobago
Losses against Cuba, Honduras, El Salvador

Inconsequential win against Saint-Martin
Inconsequential loss against French Guiana

I'd argue that Haiti being out of the SF round is the reason why they were in front of us because had they been in a group with the US, JAmaica and Guatemala, they would have gotten less FIFA points because they would have played those teams instead of Bermuda and Puerto RIco. Same thing for Trinidad really how much would they have gotten if they had to add matches against Mexico, Costa Rica and El Salvador to their average, it would have dipped somewhat.

So, we did this:
Wins against Panama, Cuba
Draw against Panama
Losses to Honduras, Mexico
Inconsequential loss to Martinique.

So,now you fully understand my point: While we could have played smarter friendlies to be ahead of Haiti in the FIFA rankings, I don't think that we could have gotten higher than Jamaica and Trinidad no matter what we did unless we have a good Gold Cup by winning at least 2 matches against a FIFA member.

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16 minutes ago, jpg75 said:

Aren't GC qualifying matches played outside of FIFA windows? What if we somehow fail to qualify? Doesn't that harm us more?

Not in the CFU right now. UNCAF played most of their tournament during a FIFA window with 1 matchday outside of it but are going back to the traditional January tournament. If we don't qualify, it always depends how. Aruba's example who beat two CONCACAF minnows and lost to French Guiana was a great result that had them in  11th despite being poor for the 3 previous years. 

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17 hours ago, Blackdude said:

Here's the problem. From the Gold Cup in 2017 until WCQ or Gold Cup in 2019, there is 21 months where we wouldn't play a competitive match. And the average of 0 is get this 0, so it can't work for us during that time.

(Really replying to your LONG post but didn't want to quote it!)

Yes, I was under the mistaken impression that the average was calculated over a 4 year window, when in fact it is a sum of annual averages. So you are right about 2018 in your example - playing friendlies would of course be necessary during that year. But in other years, friendlies might lower our average depending on our other competitive results, as I illustrated in a previous post.

Just to be clear, I am not saying we could do what Wales have done. What I am saying is that we should play the "rankings game" and carefully consider the value of each friendly in the context of how it might affect our ranking and how that in turn might impact our seeding. And sometimes we might consider that the benefit of playing the match outweighs any negative impact to our ranking. That is all.

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Would love to see this be an explicit part of our strategic planning and vision, as maximizing our ranking is crucial for pot placement draws and seeding.

For 2018 WCQ, I believe all draws and seeding were based on the rankings from August 2014. If a similar timeline is to be followed for CONCACAF 2022 WCQ, then the ranking we want to maximize is August 2018, as that could determine our seeding and pot placement for the duration of 2022 WCQ.

If the current September 2016 rankings determined pot placement/seeding, St. Kitts and Nevis wouldn't begin WCQ until the 4th round. Crazy. They would receive a bye until the group stage of CONCACAF WCQ. On a sarcastic note, who knew that being eliminated from 2018 WCQ in the 2nd round (on June 16, 2015) could be so beneficial to your ranking? I'm guessing their climb has more to do with a bad year of ranking points having dropped off from the calculation formula now, as opposed to them playing a lot since being eliminated from WCQ last year and winning.

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5 hours ago, jpg75 said:

What if we somehow fail to qualify? Doesn't that harm us more?

If we don't then yes we take the hit as we should. The likeliest qualifier would involve us playing the likes of Bermuda and the Bahamas so we'd likely make it.  I say this because CONCACAF goes by region and there is an argument that Bermuda and the Bahamas belong in NAFU not CFU. Cuba is also a former NAFU member

Edited by matty

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1 hour ago, matty said:

If we don't then yes we take the hit as we should. The likeliest qualifier would involve us playing the likes of Bermuda and the Bahamas so we'd likely make it.  I say this because CONCACAF goes by region and there is an argument that Bermuda and the Bahamas belong in NAFU not CFU. Cuba is also a former NAFU member

I really want to see us have to go through qualifying, but when it happens I hope they do it right. No more three separate regions BS, just one big qualifying (it could be separate drawn/seeded groups that never play each other, but not based on regions), and make the tourney every 4 years instead of every 2 years.

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2 hours ago, Kent said:

I really want to see us have to go through qualifying, but when it happens I hope they do it right. No more three separate regions BS, just one big qualifying (it could be separate drawn/seeded groups that never play each other, but not based on regions), and make the tourney every 4 years instead of every 2 years.

I'm doubtful they'll do it the UEFA way, with everyone playing a round robin. They should but they want Canada in there and if they're going to have Canada qualify  they're gonna take the fewest chances possible

Edited by matty

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5 hours ago, matty said:

If we don't then yes we take the hit as we should. The likeliest qualifier would involve us playing the likes of Bermuda and the Bahamas so we'd likely make it.  I say this because CONCACAF goes by region and there is an argument that Bermuda and the Bahamas belong in NAFU not CFU. Cuba is also a former NAFU member

When we last qualified in 2000 we went through a repechage against the likes of Cuba and El Salvador. I highly doubt we would get a free pass through Bermuda to qualify directly.

Edited by jpg75

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5 hours ago, jpg75 said:

When we last qualified in 2000 we went through a repechage against the likes of Cuba and El Salvador. I highly doubt we would get a free pass through Bermuda to qualify directly.

That's the other alternative I could see happening but wonder if they'd do it that way for reasons ranging from too much risk of not having one of CONCACAF's big 3 markets in the Gold Cup to having the 6th place finisher from Central America get a second shot which makes little sense.

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One option that may have some merit is to do a simple COPA North right after the world cup between US, Mexico and Canada (maybe each county hosting home and home - Mexico host first two, Canada next two, and final two in US) - have final game US/Mexico in Pasadena as they always do - and use the results for placement in the Gold Cup.  Whoever finishes first gets Seed #1 in Group A, second, gets #2 Seed in Group B, and third gets #3 seed in Group C.  It allows Canada to earn some FIFA points and experience plus two meaningful home games, the US and Mexico turn their friendlies into a commercial/competitive environment, the three countries demonstrate they can cooperate together for a future World Cup. Also, it allows the Gold Cup organizers to separate the three for placement and unless Canada wins the #1 seed, allows the Gold Cup organizers to "legitimately" say the Gold Cup is not set up for a US/Mexico final - every one wins.

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11 hours ago, matty said:

I'm doubtful they'll do it the UEFA way, with everyone playing a round robin. They should but they want Canada in there and if they're going to have Canada qualify  they're gonna take the fewest chances possible

I don't want them to design qualifying while considering how to make sure a specific team gets in. Besides, if we can't be one of the top 12 qualifiers (or 16 if they ever expand it) then we really should not be there.

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29 minutes ago, Kent said:

I don't want them to design qualifying while considering how to make sure a specific team gets in. Besides, if we can't be one of the top 12 qualifiers (or 16 if they ever expand it) then we really should not be there.

I don't think anyone wants that but honestly it seems likely to be the only way it would happen

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3 hours ago, A Different Perspective said:

One option that may have some merit is to do a simple COPA North right after the world cup between US, Mexico and Canada (maybe each county hosting home and home - Mexico host first two, Canada next two, and final two in US) - have final game US/Mexico in Pasadena as they always do - and use the results for placement in the Gold Cup.  Whoever finishes first gets Seed #1 in Group A, second, gets #2 Seed in Group B, and third gets #3 seed in Group C.  It allows Canada to earn some FIFA points and experience plus two meaningful home games, the US and Mexico turn their friendlies into a commercial/competitive environment, the three countries demonstrate they can cooperate together for a future World Cup. Also, it allows the Gold Cup organizers to separate the three for placement and unless Canada wins the #1 seed, allows the Gold Cup organizers to "legitimately" say the Gold Cup is not set up for a US/Mexico final - every one wins.

 

This is actually a great idea. It will let all those spoiled American fans be happy if they changed the qualifying system b/c they would be playing Mexico and would allow us to get more competitive experience against the best. (Although I don't think it will benefit our ranking by playing those 2 nations assuming we always lose)

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2 hours ago, A Different Perspective said:

One option that may have some merit is to do a simple COPA North right after the world cup between US, Mexico and Canada (maybe each county hosting home and home - Mexico host first two, Canada next two, and final two in US) - have final game US/Mexico in Pasadena as they always do - and use the results for placement in the Gold Cup.  Whoever finishes first gets Seed #1 in Group A, second, gets #2 Seed in Group B, and third gets #3 seed in Group C.  It allows Canada to earn some FIFA points and experience plus two meaningful home games, the US and Mexico turn their friendlies into a commercial/competitive environment, the three countries demonstrate they can cooperate together for a future World Cup. Also, it allows the Gold Cup organizers to separate the three for placement and unless Canada wins the #1 seed, allows the Gold Cup organizers to "legitimately" say the Gold Cup is not set up for a US/Mexico final - every one wins.

No way it happens. Why would the US and Mexico who are the top 2 teams in CONCACAF accept that? Because that means that whoever wins the CAribbean Cup would get a top seed? 

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