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.
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 Men's matches can be found here: Men's 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. National "B" sides will not be included in the Men's rankings. For the Women's there is more leniency due to the smaller number of nations competing overall.
Perhaps hardest to find consensus on is the inclusion of hybrid teams (featuring players from multiple nations, such as Indochina or European Crusaders). In general they will be excluded unless the players almost exclusively only play for the hybrid, i.e. all their national sides are mostly not yet playing at all regularly.