Yesterday, I watched the opening minutes of the Ireland England friendly international. Having considered travelling to Dublin for the game, I was happy I didn’t having watched the first five minutes. The atmosphere seemed flat and muted, in complete contrast to the last time the two teams met in Dublin in February 1995. I started to question the value of the match. No doubt the players got to sharpen up before next weekend’s game with Scotland, and the management had a chance to view some fringe players in action. However, I think the real value might be the FIFA world ranking points that were amassed from the game.
Previously, (here) I explained how these points are calculated. While some might think these are meaningless, they are used to determine seeding in qualifying tournaments. For the 2016 European Championship Qualifiers Ireland were a 2nd seed. This is very important to our chance of qualifying as we only have to play one team ranked higher than us (at the time of the draw) in qualifying.
Our performance in the world ranking charts hasn’t been good of late. Last year, he Boys in Green fell out of the top 70 for the first time since ranking began, and while we are now back at 60th position, this places us behind the likes of Cape Verde Islands (38), Northern Ireland (44) Equatorial Guinea (50) and Gabon (59).
The team’s performances since September have been encouraging. Since Euro 2016 qualifying began, the team have played seven games; won three, drawn three, and lost one. The value of each is as follows (excluding Gibraltar as they are not part of the FIFA World Rankings): Georgia (675), Germany (498), USA (516), Scotland (0), Poland (415), and England (185).
185 points for yesterday’s result. I suppose it all adds up.