FIFA World Soccer Rankings

FIFA World Soccer Rankings
Every four years FIFA, football’s world governing body, ranks all national teams of member nations to determine the teams’ relative strength and to seed competitions. In the 2010 FIFA World Cup, for example, FIFA Rankings were used to seed groups in different qualifier competitions, including UEFA. Apart from seeding teams, the rankings also determine the winners of two annual awards for best national teams based on their performance in the rankings.

Ranking Criteria

Prior to the end of the 2006 World Cup, FIFA ranked national teams based on performance over an over eight-year period. The revised four-year ranking system gives weight to more recent, more significant matches and the strength of opponents. A number of other criteria are also used to determine placement of national teams using the new ranking system.

Top Ten January 2016

1. Belgien 1494 Points
2. Argentinien 1455
3. Spanien 1370
4. Deutschland 1347
5. Chile 1269
6. Brasilien 1251
7. Portugal 1219
8. Kolumbien 1211
9. England 1106
10. Österreich 1091


Match Results

Teams that participate in FIFA-reconised international matches are awarded points based on their performance. A team that wins is awarded three points, draws one point and loses no point. If a team wins after a penalty shootout, it is awarded two points and one point if it loses. Competitive matches are given more prominence and awarded more points. A win in the World Cup final, for example, is equal to four points while a win in a friendly match is worth one point.

Strength of Opponent

Winning over highly rated teams is more significant than winning over lower ranking opponents. For example, a team that defeats the first placed team is awarded an extra two points under this criterion while a team that beats a 150th placed team (and below) is awarded the minimum point of 0.5. FIFA also considers European and South American teams and competition stronger than others and awards them higher points.


Matches played in the last 12 months before the FIFA Ranking list is released count in full. The year before this period accounts for half points while those games played three and four years earlier count much less. For example, one point is awarded for games played within the last 12 months and 0.2 points for games played 36 to 48 months ago.

Team Position

Ranking points are earned per match by factoring in all of FIFA’s ranking criteria. Teams ranking, therefore, change from time to time as match results come in. However, the average points gained from all matches played in each calendar year ultimately determines a team’s position in the FIFA World Soccer Rankings list.