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Debate - World footy rankings 2008 - IC08 placings

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In our continuing series of debates towards creating a defacto World Ranking we now ask the question whether the 2008 International Cup finishing order was a fair assessment of the countries that competed and thus whether they should be used as the initial basis for our World Rankings.

The obvious starting position for the system is the 2008 International Cup results, along with Australia on top (did not compete due to its obvious superiority at this stage of the game's development):

1. Australia
2. Papua New Guinea
3. New Zealand
4. South Africa
5. Ireland
6. Nauru
7. Canada
8. USA
9. Japan
10. Great Britain
11. Samoa
12. Denmark
13. Sweden
14. Peace Team
15. Finland
16. China
17. India

Each team played 5 matches of 18-per-side over 10 days, with the tournament using seedings based primarily on the 2005 Cup results. Any other 2008 internationals will also be used in our rankings, but firstly were the IC08 positions a true reflection? Were any teams placed higher or lower than they should have? And if anyone has a strong objection to Australia being ranked one, or included at all, speak now!

The results of IC08 matches can be seen in 2008 Australian Football International Cup - Results.

This author believes that Finland was somewhat unlucky to finish below the Peace Team, in that the Icebreakers appeared to play the better footy earlier in the tournament, but succumbed to illness, injury and smaller player numbers. However the Finns were so comprehensively beaten that the result should be respected.

Great Britain and Denmark probably showed enough to feature a little higher too. Ireland were desperately unlucky to lose their 3rd/4th playoff to South Africa, but then the Lions did have a lot more shots on goal than the Irish Warriors. Sixth was probably fair for Nauru but the way they were playing at the end, all teams would've been under threat.

So there are a few possible adjustments to the ladder, but at the end of the day rankings should be based on on-field results and finishing positions wherever possible, so it would probably need a strong argument or results of other matches to vary from the IC08 final order.

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Debate - World footy rankings 2008 - IC08 placings | 6 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Debate - World footy rankings 2008 - IC08 placings
Authored by: Niels Schønnemann on Tuesday, January 06 2009 @ 02:13 am ACDT

Personally I think the groups were a bit lopsided. Not so much in the top tier, but in the 2nd and 3rd tiers. It was obvious in the playoff rounds that group B and C was stronger than A and D. With this fact in mind, it was more unfortunate that it was A vs D and B vs C in the first finals round. I would rank the sides likes this (Not counting Aus):

1. Papua New Guinea
2. New Zealand (The top 2 was several steps better than the rest)

3. South Africa
4. Ireland
5. Nauru (I dont see why Nauru couldnt have beaten both teams above. Would be close though)

6. Canada
7. USA (These two sides could swap, but then again it would be a very even game)

8. Great Britain
9. Denmark
10. Japan
11. Samoa (Seemed to me that Denmark and GB was just one step ahead of Japan, who then again was one step ahead of Samoa)

12. Sweden (Sweden would dominate against lower opposition, but struggles clearly against any better side)
13. Peace Team
14. Finland
15. China
16. India

Debate - World footy rankings 2008 - IC08 placings
Authored by: Brett Northey on Wednesday, January 07 2009 @ 02:32 pm ACDT

So Niels sees a bit of adjustment between GB, Denmark, Japan and Samoa - basically Japan pushed down a couple and Denmark going above Samoa too.

I've seen a few arguments for Denmark to finish higher. My opinion has probably varied a bit. Certainly the draw meant that we didn't get to see enough of them against the above mentioned teams. They had bad losses to the US and RSA, a narrow loss to GB, and easy wins over China and Sweden.

Do I think they would've beaten Japan and Samoa? Probably. Although remember Samoa lost their very dominant player Fia Too-too for the last few games.

Japan lost to the US by 80 pts and Denmark lost by 62 pts. Not a demonstrative difference but favours the argument for Denmark going higher. But again, it will be tough to go against the final official rankings from the tournament. Tough but not impossible. Though I can imagine the Japanese supporters would find it difficult to understand if they end up ranked lower than they finished at the Cup.

Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN

Debate - World footy rankings 2008 - IC08 placings
Authored by: Niels Schønnemann on Wednesday, January 07 2009 @ 09:19 pm ACDT

I think the difference between DK and Samoa was shown in their games against Sweden. DK beat Sweden by 17 goals and Samoa beat them by 4 goals. Denmark also missed two of their best ball getters (Cederholm and Gjørup) and Full forward ( Krolmark) against Sweden. Also, GB beat Samoa a lot easier than they beat Denmark.
With this in mind (that both GB and DK performed better than Samoa), its justified that Japan is valued a closer look to compare to DK and GB. I doubt Japan would have beaten either (when you look at results against similar opposition), but wouldnt have lost significantly though.

Debate - World footy rankings 2008 - IC08 placings
Authored by: Eurofooty on Thursday, January 08 2009 @ 11:24 am ACDT

A couple of points here:

* The match conditions between the Sweden v Samoa match and Sweden v Denmark were vastly different.
* Sweden v Denmark - again not much can be drawn here being the last game of the tournament and with Sweden missing half a dozen senior players with injuries.
* Denmark had a slow start to the IC with a difficult travel ordeal coming into Australia; and I think deserve to rank higher.

I think the rankings system, while an interesting thought exercise, are purely academic and will remain so until we see an IC played out in full in the northern hemisphere.

Debate - World footy rankings 2008 - IC08 placings
Authored by: Brett Northey on Saturday, January 10 2009 @ 09:56 pm ACDT

Yes it's an academic exercise, but it really always is to some extent in any rankings system around the world - no one ever plays everyone else or enough such games for every spot to be accurately determined. True that Aussie Rules is even further away from adequacy than many sports in that respect.

Even if a full IC is played in the northern hemisphere, then we'll still be unable to fairly rank many of the southern hemisphere teams as many of them won't travel at full strength either. I guess at the end of the day you try to judge performances in the big tournaments and don't make much allowance for injury or availability - I assume FIFA and other bodies don't for their sports.

I guess at the end of the day it would just be nice to have, for the historical record and for the casual reader, a bit of a sense of how all the nations stack up in this early stage of the game's international development.

Brett Northey - Co-founder and Chief Editor of WFN

Debate - World footy rankings 2008 - IC08 placings
Authored by: Adam Bennett - AFL England President on Wednesday, January 07 2009 @ 08:39 pm ACDT

A ranking is never going to please everyone, so I think you have to go with the IC rankings for now, in lieu of a methodology which allows us to accurately track and calculate precisedly where teams are compared to others.

For example, after the result in 2005 and seeing the teams play in 2008, I'd hope GB vs Japan would be a good match-up for us, but they finished higher, so good on 'em. I think everyone underestimated how good the Nauruans were and I'm sure they would fancy themselves against both the Africans and Irish, though I'd probably go with the current placings for now.

It would be great to see an AFL initiative providing an official system for ranking, or adoption of a system used in another mainstream sport which could be accurately applied to footy to determine rankings, but I suspect this would also require more regular contact between a larger number of international teams.

Happy new year all!

"You don't stop playing because you get old - you get old because you stiop playing."