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World Rankings - Criteria
For our latest rankings and links to the ranking method, see World Rankings - Current.
Here we discuss what games to include in our statistical analysis.
How far back to go and what games are eligible? We go way back to 1994, starting with a match between Denmark and Great Britain in which the Bulldogs won 19.15 (129) to the Danes' 6.4 (40).
A great deal of time was put into hunting down the results from games back to 1994. Based mainly on Cam Homes' initial criteria, we are currently including games under the following conditions. However, they are meant as guidelines only and we're happy to consider games under advice from the national football bodies involved.
* All regular International Cup matches
* For matches played prior to IC2002, games must have been at least 12-a-side and more than 8 players being nationals.
* For matches played after IC2002 and before IC2008, games must have been at least 14-a-side and more than 10 players on each side being nationals.
* For matches played since IC2008, games must have been at least 16-a-side and at least 12 players on each team being nationals (ideally all players).
It is difficult to check the qualifications of each game and each player, especially games many years ago. But the general spirit of the system is to rank nations based on how good their national side is playing a full field version of the sport with nationals of that country. Even one or two expatriate Australians can severely skew results but we realise that many past international matches have featured a few such players, and of course they have often played a vital role in establishing the game. These guidelines are not designed to influence the rules under which internationals are played, they are simply there for us to produce, as best possible, a consistent data set and thus consistent ranking system.
There has previously been debate on the merits of including smaller field and player number matches, such as 8 or 9-a-side. The fairly strong feedback was not to include them. Perhaps if such matches are regularly played under strict qualifying criteria a similar rankings may be produced for those games, although currently most such matches have had a lot of non-nationals participate. The sliding scale in our criteria, becoming more demanding over time, reflects that more and more internationals are being played under rules closer and closer to what we consider the current "gold standard", the International Cups. We acknowledge that exceptions have been made even for those tournaments.
The complete list of included matches can be found here: World Rankings - Matches
In formulating the above rules there was plenty of discussion amongst the worldfootynews.com editors, writers and readers - too much to summarise here, but interested readers can search the website for world rankings to find numerous examples. The discussion did lead to some adjustments such as to which games were included.
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