In the run up to the World Cup 2018, there will be many pundits, bookmakers and just general football fans making predictions on which teams are likely to lift the trophy in Russia this year. Whilst no one can say for sure which country will emerge victorious, an in-depth look at the competing teams does give away a few clues as to which are the greatest teams, based on form and skill, and therefore which teams are the best to back should you want to place a wager or two this World Cup.

Here at Fable Casino, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to wade through the facts, figures and opinions surrounding the World Cup 2018 to help you place smart bets. In this series of posts we’ll not only be looking at the best odds in many World Cup 2018 markets, but also looking at which teams are statistically the strongest.

One of the best ways to do this is to take a look at the FIFA World Rankings 2018. These rankings show how successful a team have been in the past year, and in previous international competitions, and therefore can give you some insight into each country’s chances of winning the World Cup 2018.

What Are The FIFA World Rankings?

As we’ve just mentioned the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Rankings allow us to check out how successful all of the international football teams have been in the past year and in previous years too. Of the 211 teams ranked in the FIFA Men’s rankings, however, only 32 will be travelling to Russia.

These rankings are produced objectively, meaning there is no bias or opinion involved. FIFA (The International Federation of Association Football) is the international governing body of association football, and they are also responsible for the organization of football’s major international tournament, including the 2018 World Cup.

FIFA World Rankings 2018: Calculation of Points

As you will see in the table below, each ranking team has earned themselves a number of points, which determines where they place within the FIFA Men’s Rankings.

These points are awarded to any team which succeeds in international football, and the more points a team has, the better the team is considered to be.

A team’s total number of points is calculated over a four year period, and is determined by adding together the average number of points gained from matches during the past 12 months and the average number of points gained from matches older than 12 months, which depreciate in value year on year.

The number of points given for a single match depends on four different conditions and the final point value is worked out via this formula

P (Points) = M x I x T x C

  • Match Result (M)
    Teams gain 3 points for a win, 1 point for a draw and 0 points for a defeat.
    In a penalty shootout, the winning team gains 2 points and the losing team gains 1 point.
  • Importance of Match (I)
    Teams gain 1 point for winning a ‘friendly’ match, 2.5 points for winning a FIFA World Cup qualifier match or a confederation level qualifier match, 3 points for winning a confederation-level final competition match or a FIFA Confederations Cup match, and 4 points for winning a FIFA World Cup match.
  • Strength of Opposing Team (T)
    The strength of the opposition is worked out using this formula: 200 – Ranking Position of the Opponents.
    The top ranking team is always assigned 200 points, whilst teams ranked 150th and blelow are assigned a minimum value of 50 points.
  • Strength of Confederation (C)
    The strength of a confederation is based on the number of victories by that confederation at the last three FIFA World Cup competitions. There values are as follows:
    UEFA: 0.99

An Example Points Calculation

If England were to play France in a friendly and win, this is how their points would be calculated:

P = 3 (for winning) x 1 (as the match was a friendly) x 193 (as France are currently ranked 7th) x 0.99 (as both teams are part of the UEFA confederation).

This means that for that match, England would be awarded 573.21 points.

FIFA Men’s World Ranking: The 32 World Cup 2018 Teams

Below you can find out where the 32 international teams which have qualified for this year’s FIFA World Cup tournament rank within the FIFA World Rankings 2018 and how many points they currently have.

Please note, all rankings are correct as of 16/5/2018.

Rank Team Total Points
1 Germany 1533
2 Brazil 1384
3 Belgium 1346
4 Portugal 1306
5 Argentina 1254
6 Switzerland 1179
7 France 1166
8 Spain 1162
10 Poland 1118
11 Peru 1106
12 Denmark 1054
13 England 1040
14 Tunisia 1012
15 Mexico 1008
16 Colombia 989
17 Uruguay 976
18 Croatia 975
22 Iceland 930
23 Sweden 889
25 Costa Rica 858
28 Senegal 825
35 Serbia 732
36 Iran 727
40 Australia 700
42 Morocco 681
46 Egypt 636
47 Nigeria 635
55 Panama 575
60 Japan 528
61 Korea Republic 520
66 Russia (Host Nation) 493
70 Saudi Arabia 445