England‘s latest FIFA world-ranking position of 17th place is perhaps the most realistic in years, but it could have knock-on effects.
Having been knocked out without a whimper at Euro 2012 by Italy, Roy Hodgson‘s team found themselves in a remarkably high third place within FIFA’s official ranking system. It was the peak of a series of ranking updates that always seemed to flatter England’s actual on the pitch performance, and more importantly tournament results.
However, England, over the past year, has had some mixed qualifying results, including poor performances that ended in draws vs. the likes of Ukraine twice and Montenegro. In the past, the reason for England’s high rankings has been due to their very impressive qualifying and friendly records — it has been very consistent. But in this 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign, they’ve failed to deliver and also drawn friendlies to the likes of Scotland and Brazil. It has not been great.
But perhaps we can finally look at the rankings and say, that is a true representation of where England is in the world of football. They’re not the big wigs, they may have the stadium and structureless to be that, but in terms of their performances they are far from that.
It may be a good, however, to give a real solid sense of reality to the players, manager and even The FA. But it could be detrimental to England further down the line. As smaller nations will know, the lower your ranking, the lower your seed is for qualifying. This inevitably means a harder road to a major tournament. England is struggling to get out of a group without any powerhouses, so it’s not a pleasant possibility.
However, the positive is there is plenty of time to turn things around before those next qualifying draws. But England’s tournament history doesn’t exactly make things any better. Their ranking could get even worse unless the results, which are going to be incredibly important for them, turn around.