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Barbados vs. Guatemala Barbados vs. Guatemala
by Asa Butcher
2006-10-20 10:25:33
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According to this month's FIFA World Ranking, the national team of Barbados is flying high after climbing an impressive 52 places to sit at the bottom of the Top 100 teams. Over the course of September 2006 the CONCACAF team accumulated 186 points, which may be partially due to their 7-1 home victory over Anguilla a few weeks ago.

One place below Barbados in the rankings is Guatemala, who dropped a massive 35 places to 101st after a 182-point deficit throughout the same month. Newcastle United's Nobby Solano won't be too impressed either after Peru, his national team, fell 33 places to 79th and losing 195 points in a single month.

There has been little change at the top of the rankings, with Brazil still sitting in the top spot, although Italy's World Cup win have put them a mere 20 points behind Dunga's men. Italy's three place rise has pushed France, Argentina and England down one position each, although England are lucky that was as bad as it went for them.

Out of the top twenty teams, England lost the most points in September after a horrific month for Steve McClaren. 107-points were lost, which compared to the second largest point loss in the top 20 of 59 by the Czech Republic is certainly going to bring more pressure on the England players in the coming months. Greece has had a positive month in international football and this has been reflected through an eight-place climb to 14th and 146 points collected.

FIFA's ranking system calculates a number of different factors from all international "A" matches played over the previous 48 months. Points are based on a number of specific criteria, such importance of a match, strength of opponent, strength of confederation and outcome of the game. The highest number of points is earned by the winners of competitive matches, especially against high-ranking opponents, while goals scored and the away bonus is no longer counted.

It was satisfying to see Roy Hodgson's Finland capitalise on a month of good results by moving five places up the table into 56th; they are now sandwiched between Honduras and Jamaica. Honourable mentions must also go to Haiti and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, which both secured over 200 points each; the latter earning 227, which was the highest out of all 207 teams in September. St. Vincent and the Grenadines recently eliminated Jamaica from the Caribbean Qualification to the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup, which contributed to their points.

Finnish football fans will be disappointed to see that their neighbours Sweden remain in the top 20 and even move up two places to 16th. Scotland moved up nine places to 25th and Northern Ireland received a shock when they discovered that they had moved up 13 places to 45th taking them above their neighbours, the Republic of Ireland, in 49th.

There will be little change in the rankings during October. Only one international game is scheduled, which is Uruguay versus Venezuela on October 19th, but there will be more points available come November and the next round of friendlies and qualifiers. However, the way England is currently playing I cannot see how we are going to earn a single point against Holland on November 15th.


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