Feet up! : football

World Rankings and real life

I've ranted before about the FIFA World Rankings and how wrong they appear, it seems that I'm not the only one and that a new method of ranking will be used after this World Cup. However, I've also found an alternative ranking system called the World Football Elo Ratings based on the Elo rating systems originally used to rate chess players. It appears to be far more relevent to real life than the FIFA scheme, and the following table shows this in the 16 qualifiers for the knock out round of the World Cup

TeamFIFA rankElo rank
Germany 19 8
Sweden 16 13
Argentina 8 4
Mexico 6 17
England 10 5
Ecuador 39 28
Portugal 8 3
Holland 3 7
Italy 14 6
Australia 44 16
Switzerland35 12
Ukraine 41 20
Brazil 1 1
Ghana 50 35
Spain 5 2
France 7 9

The figures tell the story, FIFA's rankings have teams rated 50th in the World in the last 16 of the World Cup. With 6 of the last 16 being ranked higher than 16. Noticable omissions being the team rated second and fourth in the world by FIFA; the Czech Republic and USA respectively, who are 11th and 27th on the Elo rankings. Need I say any more?

[Mon, 26 Jun 2006 22:37] | [] | #

2 Million Reasons to play Theo

At least as far as a Southampton fan is concerned, because 2 million pounds is the rumoured payment that Arsenal have to make to Southampton for Theo's first England cap. Sure, Arsenal got him on the cheap, but at least they're having to pay up quickly.

Is he ready for the World Cup? That's a different question altogether, but, he's certainly looking more ready than Sven...

[Tue, 30 May 2006 22:08] | [] | #

UEFA Looking Pretty Silly

So Liverpool do the impossible and come back from 3-0 down and win the European Cup, but don't qualify to defend it next year. How come the winners of the Champions League don't qualify for the Champions League, but the winners of the Welsh League do? Haven't UEFA heard of the trades description act? Is being Champions of Champions meaningless?

Congratulations Liverpoool, shame on you UEFA.

UEFA could do far worse than automatically granting the holders entry to next year's competition, it would be a useful automatic measure to allow one more teams from the strongest country into the competition without external wrangling.

[Wed, 25 May 2005 22:41] | [] | #

Changing Codes?

After last week's events, this week brings even more weirdness down at St Mary's.

Last week, the manager was sacked and head of the coaching staff (Steve Wigley) was promoted to head coach, with further organisational changes "to be decided". This week Sir Clive Woodward, England's World Cup winning coach resigns and is linked with a senior role at Southampton, sporting director, perchance?

Strange stuff indeed, but if anyone can make this sort of transistion it would be a proven winner like Clive. The Guardian provide a little more background

[Thu, 02 Sep 2004 13:27] | [] | #

Saints and Sinners

Weird stuff down at St Mary's the last few days. First off Saturday's game, which Saints won with a disputed last minute penalty, during the awarding of this the referee Andy D'Urso managed to book a Blackburn player twice, but not send him off! So slender was D'Urso's tenuous grasp on reality that the FA have charged him with "less than proficiently applying the laws of the game".

Then this morning the Sturrock affair moved to a conclusion when he left "by mutual agreement". One wonders if this is based around the on-going James Beattie transfer speculation. Did Luggy state "either he goes or I do" or "if he goes so do I"? Strange, after all you'd need your head examined if you thought Beattie was worth more than a tenner, yet again he wandered aimlessly through the game, his only contributions being to fall over in the box and tuck away the resulting penalty.

[Mon, 23 Aug 2004 13:54] | [] | #

Football's Coming Home

Urs Meier with assistant

As Ben feared it went to penalties; the fat boy got injured; the referee made numerous incomprehensible decisions, including disallowing a perfectly valid goal; Sven made some odd decisions too, like bringing on Phil Neville and letting Beckham take a penalty.

A great game though, 2 hours plus of intensity, let down by the referee and the appalling condition of the pitch - in all three penalties missed, the striker slipped or mishit the ball due to the loose surface around the penalty spot. Hardly a fair way to conclude a major international game.

Roll on the World Cup, with any luck Beckham and the ugly brothers will have retired, and Owen might have consistantly found his shooting boots again.

Talking of boots, many players are sponsored to wear different football boots in the hope that dumb punters would want to emulate their heros. But, would you buy the same boots as Van Nistelroy or Heskey? After all, the rest of your team will laugh at you continually falling over.

Various Jocks seem to be following the usual knee jerk anti-English traditions, it's nice to see Martin taking a more rational approach.

[Fri, 25 Jun 2004 14:11] | [] | #

The Tin Man goeth

He's back!

This time he's back in Ecuador for good, looks like I was too optimistic back in November. It's a shame that Tino never got a chance to have a good shot at the Premiership, but with injuries and a strike force more prolific than all of the strikers England have taken to Portugal he never had the opportunity to break into the Saints side.

[Fri, 18 Jun 2004 13:42] | [] | #

World's Top Soccer Championship?

A quick thought about Euro 2004, is it the World's top soccer championship?

Yes, I know it hasn't got the mighty Brazil or Argentina, but other than that there are no teams of note missing from the championship. This is rather different to the World Cup finals where there are perennial no-hopers like Saudi Arabia.

The top of the FIFA World Rankings suggest that Mexico, Turkey (knocked out by England and Latvia in qualifying), USA, Cameroon, Republic of Ireland (knocked out in qualifying), and Iran(!), are significant omissions. But to be honest this only highlights how seriously flawed the FIFA rankings really are.

Take Mexico's record for instance - they're fouth in the rankings somehow - and apart from a 1-0 win over Brazil 12 months ago they have only played friendlies, one of which was a 0-0 draw against 65th ranked Iceland. Or the USA's record - ranked 9th - where they have no wins over any significant opposition since beating a mediocre Portugal 2 years ago at the World Cup.

Euro 2004 vs World Cup 2002? My money says Euro 2004 is the better tougher tournament.

[Fri, 18 Jun 2004 13:34] | [] | #

Footy Tips

Another season of Aussie Rules has started and the regular tipping contest I have with my mate Steve in Melbourne is also underway, unfortunately I'm currently third and last (we have a virtual player who only tips based on the current ladder position, and he's beating me too). Also Real Footy now seem to want you to register to read their stories so it looks like I'll be going elsewhere for my news fixes; I don't register for news stories anywhere as a matter of a principle. They can find some other mugs to sell their ads to...

On the plus side, my team the Brisbane Lions are picking up where they left off and are already heading in the right direction to win their fourth successive grand final, although it's very early days yet. Another plus point is that Bet 365 now take Aussie Rules bets - I'm sure they didn't last year - I reckon this could be a profitable season!

[Tue, 06 Apr 2004 22:18] | [] | #

14 Vs. 11

In all the debate about the new offside law, most commentators have missed the small print that says "Ruud van Nistelrooy and Thierry Henry are mostly exempt from this law especially when playing at home"...

There's another good reason that Arsenal are unbeaten in the premiership this season, it's not just the quality of their squad, it's the number of players they have on the pitch, sure the three dressed in black have mediocre ball skills, but they're playing a vital part in Arsenal's success. I'd love to see stats on how many penalties Arsenal (and also ManUre) have conceded at home this season, it's probably none.

Do I sound bitter? Yes, well I am rather. The last thing the premiership needs is to descend to a level where the refereeing is so poor and weak that a home side or "big-club" automatically has a significant advantage before a ball is kicked.

[Wed, 11 Feb 2004 14:56] | [] | #


BBC show bias in Football scores
From BBC Sport's Football front page

Supporters of the so called "smaller clubs" have long been frustrated by the media bias towards the likes of Manchester Utd, but it gets a bit much when they can't even face up to reporting the true score...

If you're wondering, Man Utd lost 2-0 last night, not their first loss of the season and undoubtedly not their last.

[Thu, 04 Dec 2003 13:21] | [] | #

Pompey falls again?

The Saints take on Portsmouth (twinned with Umm Qasr apparently) tonight in the Carling Cup.

I'm biting fingernails already, it's going to be a close thing, as recently the Saints have scored less often than Bill Gates, so don't expect a cricket score. In fact, Gordon Strachan is predicting a 0-0 score after penalties!

The Ugly Inside fan site has a funny guide to Southampton for Portsmouth's more troglodytic fans...

Update : Final score Saints 2 (Beattie twice): Pompey 0

[Tue, 02 Dec 2003 19:31] | [] | #

The Tim Man cometh

Agustin Delgado playing football!

He's back!

After performing as football's equivalent of the invisible man for the past two or so seasons, Agustin Delgado came on as a substitute against Chelski on Saturday and he's also playing for the reserves tonight.

Excellent stuff, if he turns out to be half as prolific as his past record suggests we'll have a strike force capable of getting us into Europe again next season.

[Mon, 24 Nov 2003 17:47] | [] | #

When I was 2...

Martin Johnson with the William Webb Ellis trophy, an ugly thing and a rugby player...

We won the World Cup.

Well blow me down, we've done it again! There's just the cricket World Cup to go and we'll have collected the full set :-)

[Mon, 24 Nov 2003 13:43] | [] | #

Euro 2004 dreams over for some

Weds night was bad news for Scottish and Welsh football fans, but a cracking result for Southampton's Latvian superstar Marian Pahars as Latvia knocked out Turkey to reach the finals in Portugal next summer.

I'd been extolling Latvia's chances all day, but never got around to putting any money on the game, doh...

[Fri, 21 Nov 2003 09:28] | [] | #


Well Diego, it looks like Bryan's boys got their comeuppance last night...

3-0 nice! Now we just need Scotland and Wales to pull out some good results tonight.

[Wed, 19 Nov 2003 13:04] | [] | #


One of the more interesting words the English language has recently grabbed from German, definition from dictionary.com -
Pleasure derived from the misfortunes of others.

Maybe it's because I'm a Southampton fan, or maybe it's because I had a bet on who would be the first Premiership manager to get the sack this season. Anyway, I am currently experiencing and enjoying large dollops of schadenfreude.

[Sun, 21 Sep 2003 21:15] | [] | #

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