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Are Belgium really the best national football team in the world?

Are Belgium really the best national football team in the world?Belgium are the best football team in the world. Or so we are to believe if Fifa’s rankings are anything to go by. Wins earlier in October against Israel and Andorra will see the team leapfrog Argentina and Germany when the rankings are updated next month.

Make no mistake: the team is talented. Half of the squad play for Champions League clubs, including Eden Hazard and Kevin de Bruyne, respective winners of the Premier League and Bundesliga player of the year awards last season.

But for the team to be elevated to world number one despite finishing sixth for points-per-game and fourth for goal-difference-per-game among sides in the European Championship qualifiers alone will raise eyebrows.

Belgium’s true ranking is probably somewhere between 1st and 11th — their rank according to the World Football Elo Ratings system, currently topped by Germany — though neither method is infallible.

Are Belgium really the best national football team in the world?


Both Elo and Fifa take into account the quality of opposition when adjusting their rankings, but one key difference suggests the Elo system may be the more robust of the two.

Fifa’s system considers all teams ranked 150th or below to be the same strength, whereas Elo scores every side individually.

As a result, Fifa awarded Belgium more credit for its win last week over 208th-ranked Andorra than Elo did.

Source: Financial Times
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