Sports Editor Oliver Dickinson examines FIFA’s new world rankings, with his usual contempt.
So, FIFA have spoken. England is officially the 4th best team in the world. This despite apparently being the 6th best team in Europe. The new rankings see us climb 2 places, leaving the likes of Argentina, Brazil, The Netherlands, France and Italy in our wake.
Now I know what you’re thinking, you’re thinking “But Olly, Italy beat us, the last time we played The Netherlands, they beat us, and if I remember rightly the last time we played Brazil they beat us too” and you’d be right. England’s record against the other top ten nations is awful; indeed the only team we have beaten recently are the team who sit at number one, Spain.
On current form I’d rank us about 10th in the world; on a good day we know we can beat teams such as France, Spain and Germany. On a good day we comfortably beat teams who are ranked 30th and below. However, on a bad day, we struggle against teams within the top 20.
Now it’s clearly the ranking system which needs to be looked at, the idea that the importance of the game can be taken in as a factor as to world rankings strikes me as absurd. Pressure is obviously a factor, but the fact that England three times points for playing the Ukraine who are ranked well outside the top 30 teams in the world at the Euro’s, than they did for playing Brazil in 2009 in a friendly, strikes me as bizarre.
Having said that, looking back at the way we played at the Euro’s: Our lack of passing, our seeming inability to develop a style of one touch football that comes so easily to Germany, Italy and Spain and our lack of a midfielder who is truly world class, the number one spot seems out of our grasp for some time.