FIFA Women's World Rankings
|Top 20 Rankings as of 26 August 2016|
The FIFA Women's World Rankings for football were introduced in 2003, with the first rankings published in March of that year, as a follow-on to the existing FIFA World Rankings for men. They attempt to compare the strength of internationally active women's national teams at any given time.
Specifics of the ranking system
- FIFA Women's World Rankings are based on every international match a team ever played, dating back to 1971, the first FIFA-recognized women's international between France and the Netherlands. (The men's ranking system considers only matches in the last four years.)
- FIFA Women's World Rankings are implicitly weighted to emphasize recent results. (The men's results are explicitly weighted on a sliding scale.)
- FIFA Women's World Rankings are only published four times a year. Normally, rankings are released in March, June, September and December. (In World Cup years, dates may be adjusted to reflect the World Cup results.)
The first two points result from the FIFA Women's World Rankings system being based on the Elo football rating system. FIFA considers the ratings for teams with fewer than 5 matches provisional and at the end of the list. Also any team that plays no matches for 18 months becomes unranked.
World Ranking leaders
To date Germany and the United States have been the only two teams to have led the rankings. They have also held the top two spots in all but four releases, when Germany was ranked third: Norway was in second position in the first two rankings until Germany overtook them by winning the 2003 FIFA Women's World Cup, and Brazil was ranked second in March and June 2009 until Germany won 2009 Euro and rejoined the top two. No other team has managed to enter the top 2 since then.
The United States holds the record for the longest period being ranked first: almost 7 years, from March 2008 to December 2014.
In the June 2016 ranking, there was no change within the top 13 teams, though there were highlights farther down the rankings, including seven teams reaching all-time high rankings, with Switzerland as the highest among these at 15th. While a total of 99 matches were played in the three months before the June 2016 rankings, the great majority were friendlies, with only Europe and Africa holding continental championship qualifiers. This was a respite from the massive shuffling deep through the rankings seen in the March 2016 rankings, due to 150 matches being played since the past ranking, including an incredible number of matches played in March 2016. The 2016 AFC Women's Olympic Qualifying Tournament provided some of the most movement, with Japan dropping 62 points and three places to their lowest ranking since June 2009, while Australia and China combined for nine places increased, China's 12th rank being their highest sine May 2010 and Australia's 5th rank their highest ever. Around those were changes in rank for every team from 4th (England, their highest ever) to 15th, including Canada returning to the top 10 at Norway's expense.
The August 2016 ranking followed the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Canada’s fourth-place ranking (their highest-ever position) was notable because their 93-point gain set a new record in the 13-year history of the FIFA/Coca-Cola Women’s World Ranking, surpassing the 87-point gain by Cameroon in July 2015 and the 80-point gain by Equatorial Guinea in December 2008. USA remained top of the ranking, however, their lead over new Olympic champions Germany was cut by more than half to their lowest-ever rating of 2,137 points. Though the Swedes claimed their first-ever Olympic medal with silver at Rio 2016, the Scandinavians lost seven rating points to remain in sixth place. Quarter-finalists Australia dropped two places to seventh, while Olympic hosts Brazil dropped to their lowest-ever ranking of tenth after missing out on the podium. Other top-ten nations to slip were England and Japan, who both dropped one position to fifth and eighth respectively. South Africa (48th) moved up four places after earning a goalless draw with Brazil in the group stage at Rio 2016, while Uganda (129th) moved into the ranking for the first time ever, despite a 4-0 friendly defeat to Kenya on 3 July. After Canada, Faroe Islands (75th) were the next highest movers upward, jumping five places in the ranking after friendly wins over Lithuania and Latvia in August. United Arab Emirates (76th) had the biggest drop, however, falling three places after a pair of friendly defeats to Luxembourg in late June. Guam (80th) re-entered the table, while no teams disappeared from the ranking due to prolonged inactivity. 
The rankings are based on the following formulae:
|= The team rating after the match
|= The team rating before the match
|= , the weighted importance of the match
|= The actual result of the match, see below
|= The expected result of the match
|= The scaled difference in rating points between the teams
|= The opposing team's rating before the match
|= The "home advantage" correction, see below
|= A scaling factor, see below
|= The "Match Importance Factor", see below
The average points of all teams are about 1300 points. The top nations usually exceed 2000 points. In order to be ranked, a team must have played at least 5 matches against officially ranked teams, and have not been inactive for more than 18 months. Even if teams are not officially ranked, their points rating is kept constant until they play their next match.
Actual result of the match
The main component of the actual result is whether the team wins, loses, or draws, but goal difference is also taken into account.
If the match results in a winner and loser, the loser is awarded a percentage given by the accompanying table, with the result always less than or equal to 20% (for goal differences greater than zero). The result is based on the goal difference and the number of goals they scored. The remaining percentage points are awarded to the winner. For example, a 2–1 match has the result awarded 84%–16% respectively, a 4–3 match has the result awarded 82%–18%, and an 8–3 match has the result awarded 96.2%–3.8%. As such, it is possible for a team to lose points even if they win a match, assuming they did not "win by enough".
If the match ends in a draw the teams are awarded the same result, but the number depends on the goals scored so the results will not necessarily add up to 100%. For example, a 0–0 draws earns both teams 47% each, a 1–1 draw earns 50% each, and a 4–4 draw earns 52.5% each.
Actual result table
The following is from a non-winning perspective (loss or draw). The factor for the winning team adds up to 100.
by non winning team
|Actual result (percentage)|
And from a winning perspective.
by losing team
|Actual result (percentage)|
Neutral ground or Home vs. Away
Historically, home teams earn 66% of the points available to them, with away teams earning the other 34%. To account for this, when two teams are not playing on neutral ground, the home team has its inflated by 100 points for the purposes of calculation. That is, if two equally ranked teams playing at one team's home ground, the home team would be expected to win at the same rate a team playing on neutral ground with a 100-point advantage. This 100 point difference corresponds to a 64%–36% advantage in terms of expected result.
This also helps define the scaling constant , which has a value of 200. In addition to a 100-point difference causing an expected result difference of 64%–36%, it also results in a 300-point difference causing expected results of 85%–15%.
Importance of the match
|Match importance||Match importance
|FIFA Women's World Cup match||4||60|
|Women's Olympic football tournament||4||60|
|FIFA Women's World Cup qualifier||3||45|
|Women's Olympic football qualifier||3||45|
|Women's Continental finals match||3||45|
|Women's Continental qualifier||2||30|
|Women's friendly match between two Top 10 teams||2||30|
|Women's friendly match||1||15|
Rankings are published four times a year, usually on a Friday.
|2016 Rankings schedule|
- Elo football rating
- FIFA Men's World Rankings
- Statistical association football predictions
- Women's association football around the world
- "FIFA Women's World Ranking". FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking. FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association). 25 March 2016. Retrieved 1 April 2016.
- "Fact Sheet, FIFA Women's World Ranking" (PDF). Retrieved 2015-06-08.
- "Swiss on the rise as all quiet up top". FIFA.com. 2016-06-24. Retrieved 2016-07-07.
- "Matildas reach record high as Japan sink to seventh". FIFA.com. 2016-06-10. Retrieved 2016-06-20.
- "Canada scale new heights on the back of Rio success". FIFA.com. 2016-08-26. Retrieved 2016-08-26.
- "Women's Ranking Procedure". FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking. FIFA. Retrieved 18 December 2015.