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Wednesday, 14 July 2010

World Cup Shock: England Climb The World Rankings

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So it wasn't a disaster after all. All those dreary weeks spent getting bored in Rustenberg weren't wasted because England went up a place in the FIFA world rankings to seventh.

To paraphrase the old adage- there are 'lies, damned lies and FIFA coefficients'. How one win over Slovenia and a pair of arid draws with USA and Algeria are worthy of advancement is beyond the ken of the average fan.

Yes, the team had a strong qualifying campaign which deserved some recognition but to go up after such a mediocre four game journey is just ridiculous. It won't exactly be much consolation to Fabio Capello.

To be fair, all rankings have anomalies from time to time. For years the golf equivalent has reflected Tiger Woods' dominance in that sport; but at the moment, Woods would hardly bother the top twenty. The American is cushioned by a system designed to reward results over a long period rather than short-term blips in form.

England's seventh position is a curious thing though, as the squad didn't even qualify for Euro 2008. You would be hard pressed to convince anyone that they are seventh best in Europe, let alone the world.

While England gained a spot, Italy went down five berths for their poor efforts and France took a massive slide from 12th to 21st. In this case the rankings are probably too lenient- 51st might have been more fitting given their shocking campaign.

Scotland at least will be gratified- they managed to go up two spots while they were sunning themselves on the beach. A few England players might have had more impact if they had followed that lead.

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Hugh Larkin



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