Israel nat'l soccer team to fall to 98th place worldwide

Israel was ranked as high as No. 18 in 2008, but over the last three years has suffered from a steady decline.

By
November 20, 2017 07:13
2 minute read.
Tal Ben-Haim and Omer Damari

Tal Ben-Haim and Omer Damari of the Israel national soccer team. (photo credit: REUTERS)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

Israel’s national soccer team will drop to a new record-low in the next FIFA rankings when they are released on Thursday, falling 16 places to No. 98, bellow the likes of the Faroe Islands and Curacao, as well as the Palestinian national side.

Israel was ranked as high as No. 18 in 2008, but over the last three years has suffered from a steady decline. The blue-and-white ended 2018 World Cup qualifying Group G in fourth place, losing four of five home games and five of six matches in all to finish the campaign, scoring just a single goal over that stretch.

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


Israel is currently without a head coach, with its next competitive matches not coming until September 2018 when the UEFA Nations League, a new league competition for national teams, gets under way for the first time. The national team doesn’t begin Euro 2020 qualification until March 2019.

While there is no denying Israel’s struggles to contend for qualification for a major tournament over recent years, the FIFA rankings don’t necessarily provide an accurate picture of the state of national teams.

The rankings have been under stern criticism for many years, with teams taking advantage of loopholes in order to boost their position.

That will result in the likes of the Palestinian national team rising to No. 82 later this week despite recording far from stellar results, even though it has made some significant progress over recent years.

This has also allowed national teams to boost their seedings for the World Cup by avoiding friendly matches.

JPOST VIDEOS THAT MIGHT INTEREST YOU:


Currently seedings are based on the rankings, using a points system which calculates average points for each game and is weighted against friendly matches.

The result has been that some teams, such as Poland and Switzerland, who have played only a small amount of friendlies, have gained an advantage over teams who have played regular friendly games.

Friendly internationals played in November have not counted towards the seeding pots for the World Cup as they are based on last month’s FIFA rankings.

But two changes are set to impact the system significantly.

From September 2018, European and CONCACAF region teams will begin playing in Nations League competitions which will be played on the dates in the FIFA calendar traditionally set aside for friendly games.

That means there will be very little space available for friendly matches for the 90 national teams who are FIFA members in those two confederations.

That trend could well spread with FIFA confirming recently that they are in talks with confederations about creating a global Nations League structure, which would further reduce the amount of friendly games.

FIFA also said it plans to review the rankings system.

“FIFA is reviewing the FIFA World Ranking system and will take a decision after the completion of qualification for the 2018 FIFA World Cup if any changes are be made to improve the ranking,” the organization said recently.

Asked if those changes would address the issue of nations avoiding friendly matches to improve their rankings and how Nations League games would be factored into the calculation, FIFA told Reuters: “The FIFA ranking will be reviewed in the near future. As long as this has not been done, we can’t speculate on future scenarios. The current ranking takes into account all official matches.”

The World Cup draw will be held on December 1 in Moscow.

Reuters contributed to this report.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt
October 21, 2018
Survey shows Israelis dream of looking like Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt

By YVETTE J. DEANE