FIFA is planning on evaluating its rankings system to keep from punishing teams who schedule more friendlies, and to keep from teams that schedule less friendlies from jumping into seeded positions for the World Cup.
Despite leading its UEFA qualification group having played eight matches unbeaten, England dropped to 13th in the latest world rankings due to narrow losses to Germany and France, both in friendlies. Manager Gareth Southgate has made his opinion on the situation public, saying he will not stop scheduling friendlies simply to help the country’s ranking.
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Meanwhile, Poland, Wales, and Switzerland have sat in seeded positions for some time. Poland has played one friendly since June of 2016, a 1-1 draw with Slovenia. Switzerland is the same. Wales hasn’t played a single friendly since last June, when European teams had a lack of competitive fixtures in the run-up to Euro 2016.
England has already scheduled Germany and Brazil as friendly fixtures in the near future, games that will be officially placed on the schedule when England officially qualifies for the 2018 World Cup, a near certainty at this point.
France is another team harmed by scheduling difficult friendlies, partly necessitated in the run-up to Euro 2016 which they hosted and therefore did not participate in qualifying. France has played five friendlies over the past calendar year, beating Italy, England, and Paraguay but also losing to Spain and drawing with the Ivory Coast. They currently sit 10th in the world despite their impressive Euro 2016 run and qualifying position that has seen them win eight competitive matches in a row.
FIFA said their review would take place once all teams had qualified for the 2018 World Cup.